Consumption and sustainability are the themes for this year’s annual Artist Invitational in the Conley Art Gallery at Fresno State.
The exhibition was put together by Nick Potter, a painting professor. The gallery is open to the public through Feb. 15.
“There is a level of art awareness that I don’t think the students get just being around us because we are all teachers,” Potter said.
Some artists travel the world, some have assistants and some teach. There are many different options for art students, he said.
This year, the artists featured in this exhibition are Kim Abeles, Adriane Colburn, Kirsten Hassenfeld and Michael Oliveri. This is the third time the Artist Invitational has been held at Fresno State.
Both Jonathan Brilliant’s and Patrick Dougherty’s constructions from the fall semester fit with the Center for Creativity and the Arts’ theme of consumption and sustainability. Potter wants to continue this by filling the art gallery with pieces along the same lines.
The CCA brought both Brilliant and Dougherty to Fresno State to add awareness to the varieties of art in the world and this exhibition adds to that ideal.
“We decided this year that we would try to sync up with their theme. So when we put the call out to the artists, they knew their art should fit the design quite clearly,” Potter said.
The pieces in the gallery all promote the same idea but are presented differently. From large, asymmetrical structures hung with care from the ceiling to presidential, decorative ceramic plates painted with smog hovering over the Los Angeles area, the show offers a different look at the environment.
“All of the artists are really spectacular,” Potter said. “It was great to walk into the gallery and see how it all came together.”
Nancy Youdelman, an art instructor, hopes that students “come away with an idea of how these artists’ thought patterns and practices work.”
“I want students to know how one would devote their life to being an artist,” Youdelman said.
The artists featured in the gallery will be presenting lectures for students and the public about their art and their inspiration on Wednesday and Thursday from 3-5 p.m. in Conley Art Room 101.
“When you are an art student and someone comes to talk about their work, it reveals a lot about art as a career and what you might see yourself doing after school,” Potter said.
The reception of the 2013 Artist Invitational begins at 5 p.m. Thursday.
The four artists showing their pieces will be making the trip to Fresno for the event. The lectures are really important for anyone who wants to understand the art, Potter said.
“I think it is fantastic that these artists are willing to come and show their art here,” he said. “Fresno doesn’t have a great reputation in art. Sometimes people give that funny look, but there are artists who are helping to change that. People are coming out and seeing this is valuable for them to exhibit in.”
One of the pieces sprawls across the broad side of the gallery with a red and blue geometrical web pattern cut out of fragile paper over a forest scene to represent how we treat the environment, Potter said.
“There are artists dealing with important political topics,” he said. “Art can be seen as self-indulgent, but sometimes it is over something much more important with a real message.”