Extended! on view through January 22 2023
A Juried Exhibition of North Bay Artists
di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art of Napa invited artists working in the North Bay to submit artwork for our inaugural showcase of local artwork True North. Sonoma, Napa, Marin, and Solano counties seem to lie on the periphery of the Bay Area art world— this juried exhibition compels us to de-center that view, showcasing compelling and provocative work emerging from the region’s northern outposts.
True North is conceived as a survey of local talent that will generate artistic activity and spark dialogue among diverse practitioners of the arts within the region.
Opening Reception December 15 | 5 – 7 PM
Selected artists will be fêted at an opening reception. Join us and celebrate!
True North Selected Artists:
Shelley Spira Burns
Jamie L. Luoto
Richard Hay Jr.
Reniel Del Rosario
Arleene Correa Valencia
Born in 1952 in Santa Monica, California, and raised in Munich, Chester Arnold studied painting at the College of Marin. After receiving an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, he found himself immersed in an exhibition and teaching career in the Bay Area that has continued to the present, recently celebrating 50 years of work in a retrospective at the Fresno Art Museum. A quirky but intense, richly imaginative craftsmanship informs his narrative paintings, which are most often large-scale and woven with visual metaphor. His work may be seen in public and private collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Nevada Museum of Art and the San Jose Museum of Art, where a significant body of his work resides. He has lived and worked for the past three decades in Sonoma, California, with his wife Frances Anne, a textile artist.
Ashwini BhatAshwini Bhat, an artist born in southern India, currently lives and works in the Bay Area, California. Coming from a background in literature and classical Indian dance, she now works at the intersection of sculpture, ceramics, installation, and performance. She often introduces radical but somehow familiar forms to suggest complex interplay between the landscape, the human, and the non-human. Bhat is a recipient of the Howard Foundation Award for Sculpture, Pond Farm Julia Terr Fellowship (BIPOC Artists), and the McKnight Foundation Residency Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited nationally & internationally and can be seen in collections at the Newport Art Museum, USA; Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan; FuLe International Ceramic Art Museum, China; the Watson Institute at Brown University, USA; New Bedford Historical Society, USA; Daugavpils Mark Rothko Centre, Latvia, and in many private collections.
Chandra CerritoWith over 20 years of experience as an interior art advisor and public art consultant, Chandra Cerrito has a depth of art consulting expertise. After earning a BA in art history and Certificate of Visual Art from Princeton University and an MFA in sculpture from California College of the Arts, she worked in Bay Area galleries and art consulting firms as manager, assistant to the director, and art consultant. Starting in 2003, Cerrito refined her curatorial skills as an independent curator of numerous museum exhibitions and director of the Oakland-based gallery Chandra Cerrito Contemporary for over a decade. In 2004, she founded Chandra Cerrito / Art Advisors, in Napa, CA, which helps create collections for corporate, hospitality and health care clients. As a public art advisor, she has worked with developers, property owners, and cities to manage over 45 public art projects and develop public art policy.
Over the last year, Millett spent countless hours wandering di Rosa’s 217 acres, collecting leaves, feathers and visual impressions that ultimately found their way into her work. Inspired by this ever-changing landscape, Millett created an arresting series of works evoking “earth, water, air and sun—the elements that birthed us and keep us alive.”
Millett relates that her process “is informed by taking things apart, removing, replacing, cutting, pasting, sewing and building”—and this is evident in her textile work as well as in her paintings. A maker and admirer of quilts, she incorporates this passion into every work, breaking materials and images down to elemental components and recombining them in fresh and surprising forms. An emblem of creative resilience, Millett’s practice suggests that destruction offers hope for new beginnings.
Exhibition support provided by Peter and Louise Hassen.
Adia Millett, Solar Serpent, 2022.
“The countless creatures I witnessed living on the land, including a baby rattler, became mirrors. We are able to see ourselves in other living beings. As they navigate the land, so do we. I imagine the young snake using its senses to transition from the challenges of one season to another. Here the triangle-shaped painting, not only integrated the shades of red to symbolize fire, but blue, green, yellow, and gold, for the water, air, and earth. Like the snake, we move, shed, and thrive.”
Erik Scollon—a fixture of the Bay Area’s avant-garde ceramics scene—invites us to reconsider that most conventional ceramic object: the bead.
In recent years, lockdown restrictions forced Scollon to practice on a new, more intimate scale, leading him to create thousands and thousands of ceramic beads. Slowly and meditatively, bead after bead was rolled by hand, pierced, fired and glazed. Then, through slow repetition and accumulation, they were strung and knotted into macramé panels. The resulting compositions are riotous fields of color and texture that scramble viewers’ perception of scale, distance, and resolution; inviting multiple modes of engagement and shattering conventional distinctions between painting, sculpture, and ceramic art.
About the artist
A committed educator, Scollon is an Associate Professor and Chair of the First Year CORE Studio Program at California College of the Arts. Moving between ‘sculpture’ and ‘ceramics,’ functional objects and aesthetically autonomous objects, social engagement and recorded performances, he investigates issues of education, access, taste, class, gender, and queerness.
Born in Rochester, Michigan, Scollon received his BFA from Albion College, and an MFA in Ceramics along with an MA in Visual and Critical Studies, both from California College of the Arts. His work has been seen at museums, galleries, craft fairs, design blogs, and gay biker bars. He is represented by Romer Young Gallery and he currently lives and works in San Francisco, California.
William T. Wiley (American, born 1937), Eerie Grotto? Okini, 1982, color block print on rag paper, 20 7/8 x 27 3/8 inches, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, Association Purchase, 1999.6
August 20 – October 31, 2021
Step inside the studio of the late William T. Wiley. Fort Phooey: Wiley in the Studio recreates the sights and sounds of his iconic studio—a meeting place for generations of Bay Area artists—combining over fifty original works from di Rosa’s collection with archival objects on loan from the artist’s estate. The “Fort Phooey” part of the exhibition title is taken from a little-known work in the di Rosa collection titled “Fort Phooey Mandala.” Wiley created the mandala as a meditative exercise in his studio, and he also referred to his studio as “Fort Phooey.”
Wiley’s Marin County studio was perhaps his greatest work of art. Densely layered with words, images and objects that meandered into his work and back out again, it was nothing less than an immersive assemblage. “Being in the studio was like entering into a Wiley artwork,” explains curator Kate Eilertsen. “The effect could be dizzying. Every surface was covered with scrawled wordplay, found objects and other elements of his distinctive visual vocabulary.”
Inviting visitors into Wiley’s studio, the exhibition draws attention to the legacy of his artistic practice. “Wiley’s studio practice—rooted in Zen mysticism and an ethos of open-ended play—was imitated by artists ranging from Bruce Nauman to Deborah Butterfield,” states Eilertsen. “To understand his profound impact, it is necessary to grapple with the legacy of his practice as well as the work itself.”
The exhibition is both immersive and participatory, and will include such details as Wiley’s final painting he was working on at the time of his death earlier this year; his workbench; photographs of him with friends and family; works by artists who influenced Wiley’s work including Wally Hedrick; musical instruments he encouraged visitors to play when they visited; National Public Radio (NPR) live via radio; and objects such as chalkboards and dunce caps that often appeared in his two-dimensional and three-dimensional work. Visitors will be prompted to create their own artworks and add them to a community wall inside the exhibition space.
Member’s Reception on August 20, 4:30-6:30 PM
Why is it called Fort Phooey?
“Fort Phooey” is taken from a little-known work in the di Rosa collection titled “Fort Phooey Mandala.” Wiley created the mandala as a meditative exercise in his studio, and he also referred to his studio as “Fort Phooey.”
When asked about viewers of his work, Oliver Lee Jackson responds, “It’s for anybody’s eyes. Any eyes will do.”
This exhibition presents—for “any eyes”—a selection of Jackson’s works in painting, sculpture, and mixed media. While recent retrospectives at the National Gallery of Art and Saint Louis Art Museum have brought renewed critical attention to Jackson’s paintings and works on paper, this exhibition highlights the true breadth of his practice, featuring previously unseen works in materials ranging from burlap, felt and paint to steel, wood and marble.
Guest curated by Diane Roby.
About the artist
Oliver Lee Jackson’s artworks are in the permanent collections of The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Detroit Institute of the Arts; New Orleans Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Portland Art Museum, Oregon; St. Louis Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; San Jose Museum of Art; Seattle Art Museum, and many other public and private collections.
Since 1982 Oliver Jackson’s studio has been in Oakland, California.
About the Curator
Diane Roby has worked for artists and arts organizations since the 1970s as an archivist, publicist, communications director, and guest curator. She holds an MFA in sculpture from San Jose State University. She has worked with Oliver Lee Jackson for nearly forty years, and also manages the artworks inventory of the Lawrence Ferlinghetti Trust.
In Conversation: Oliver Lee Jackson and Diane Roby
February 12 | 3 PM
In a series of black-on-black paintings from 2013–14, images emerge from contrasting gloss and matte black paints with color undertones, sprayed over cut stencils. These paintings are not fully seen from any one view—imagery appears and disappears from different angles or in varying light, in a constantly shifting dynamic. Echoes of the stenciled forms also appear in the tapestries and paintings on view.
A figure pulling a heavily loaded cart has been an often-recurring image in Jackson’s work since the mid-1960s. Such “junk haulers” are seen in every community, carting off the detritus of society, throwaways that nobody wants or would claim. The cart is piled with figures, flowers, clothing, objects—people and things dismissed as not being of value. This figure, usually hatted and hunched under the weight of the cart, can take on mythical and archetypal stature—Sisyphus and the boulder, or Atlas bearing the weight of the world.
Welcome to the exhibition’s microsite
Scroll down to read the introductory wall text and click the icons below to enter vignettes.
The Incorrect Museum – di Rosa’s permanent exhibition exploring the history of art in Northern California will be dramatically updated and expanded for 2022. Get ready for The Incorrect Museum: redux, opening May 14.
“Come on out and let go/to return again while getting to know/that here the art invites a titter/from the free admitter/That here art is a healthy remedy/with a laugh at rascality not posing as ponderosity.” - Rene di Rosa
Rene di Rosa viewed his collection of more than 1600 objects, accumulated over five decades from the 1960s until his death in 2010, as a sort of “incorrect museum.” In 1997, when the preserve opened its doors to the public, di Rosa memorialized the occasion in verse, penning a “singalong for an incorrect museum” which was distributed to early visitors: “Come on out and let go/to return again while getting to know/that here the art invites a titter/from the free admitter/That here art is a healthy remedy/with a laugh at rascality not posing as ponderosity.”
di Rosa’s vision of an “incorrect museum” is a potent concept, especially today as museums across the world reassess their institutional histories, missions and values. What, exactly, made the di Rosa an “incorrect museum” in the eyes of its founder?
di Rosa, along with many of the artists he collected, strictly opposed the aesthetic and social conventions of the mainstream art world, which he viewed as pretentious, sterile and fundamentally conservative.
Unlike major museums in New York and Los Angeles, di Rosa welcomed the public free of charge, reflecting a populist vision for the arts. Similarly, he rejected the bland art-speak peddled by gallerists and curators, eschewing the use of exhibition labels to cultivate a more immediate and personal exchange between artwork and viewer.
Even the personal residence di Rosa shared with his wife Veronica was imbued with an “incorrect” spirit, with works installed ceiling-to-floor in a playful salon style. The entryway of The Incorrect Museum is installed similarly, as a tribute to di Rosa’s curatorial vision. In the main gallery, we present six vignettes exploring how di Rosa’s “incorrect” sensibility was informed by the Bay Area’s unique artistic milieu. As this exhibition shows, the ideal of “incorrectness” was a lodestone for generations of Bay Area artists.
The works in the collection had a distinctly “incorrect” flavor which tended, di Rosa wrote, to invoke a “curatorial frown” from cultural gatekeepers in large, international museums.
The collection focused on Bay Area artists—like Bruce Conner, William T. Wiley, Robert Arneson and Roy De Forest, among others—whose work was too colorful, ungainly, humorous and irreverent to be easily interpreted or consumed by art world afficionados. di Rosa also supported local artists—including Peter Voulkos, Jim Melchert, Tom Marioni and Paul Kos—who blurred the line between art and life, creating conceptual works rooted in experience that were not easily bought or sold.
We invite you to celebrate the shared “rascality” of these artists. The art and artists of Northern California have too often been overlooked by critics and historians of twentieth century art.
Kate Eilertsen, Executive Director and Curator
Twyla Ruby, Curatorial Associate
The Bay Area has a longstanding tradition of radical experimentation in ceramic arts and, in recent years, many of the region’s most exciting young artists have chosen clay as their medium. This exhibition highlights three emerging artists working in this space, exploring a range of contemporary interventions in ceramic tradition.
Nicki Green, Sahar Khoury and Maria Paz all speak about the respect they have for ceramic’s durability, elasticity and strength, and are deeply engaged with the legacy of Bay Area ceramics. However, their practices represent unique modes of ceramic intervention. Green uses clay to create objects that explore history, ritual and the aesthetics of otherness. Khoury, meanwhile, engages in a practice of “creative repair” to create sculptures and installations that incorporate clay with cement, metal, textile and papier-mâché as well as rejected or found materials. Paz, finally, archives her personal and family history on ceramic vessels as an act of resilience and resistance.
Highlighting a wide range of recent works, Ceramic Interventions shows that clay remains an exciting and vital medium for today’s emerging artists.
About the Artists
Nicki Green is a transdisciplinary artist working primarily in clay. Originally from New England, she completed her BFA in sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009 and her MFA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley in 2018. Her sculptures, ritual objects and various flat works explore topics of history preservation, conceptual ornamentation and aesthetics of otherness. Green has exhibited her work internationally, notably at the New Museum, New York; The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; Rockelmann & Partner Gallery, Berlin, Germany. She has contributed texts to numerous publications including a recent piece in Duke University Press’ Transgender Studies Quarterly and a piece in Fermenting Feminism, Copenhagen. In 2019, Green was a finalist for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s SECA Award, a recipient of an Arts/Industry Residency from the John Michael Kohler Art Center, among other awards. Green lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sahar Khoury is an artist based in Oakland, California. Khoury makes sculptures that integrate abstraction, personal and political symbols, and an intuitive sensitivity to site. Experimenting with juxtapositions of found or fabricated items with more familiar artist materials such as clay and papier-mâché, she continues to develop an idiosyncratic approach, with a primary commitment to material enquiry. She received her BA in Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz in 1996 and her MFA From UC Berkeley in 2013. She was the recipient of The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 2019 biannual SECA Art Award and the 2018 Triennial Exhibition, Bay Area Now 8 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Khoury’s work has been exhibited at SFMOMA, YBCA, Oakland Museum of California, The Wattis Institute, UC Berkeley Art Museum, Rebecca Camacho (SF) and CANADA (NY). Khoury’s work has been written about in the New Yorker, Art Review, and Hyperallergic.
Maria Paz (b. Quilpue, Chile) is a self- taught sculptor based in Oakland, California. Her ceramic sculptures serve as archival objects, often exploring the bond broken with her home country and how her experience as an immigrant in the United States has shaped a multiplicity of identities within her. Recently, Paz has exhibited work at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), San Jose Institute of Contemporary Arts (San Jose, CA), Pt. 2 Gallery (Oakland, CA), and Southern Exposure (San Francisco, CA). Paz has held workshops at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, CA) and was a finalist for the 2019-2020 TOSA Studio Award. She was awarded the Bed Stuy Arts Residency in Brooklyn, New York and is currently preparing for a group exhibition focused on community healing at Part 2 Gallery (Oakland, CA).
Curated by Curatorial Associate Twyla Ruby, with Executive Director Kate Eilertsen, and Director of Education & Civic Engagement Andrea Saenz Williams.
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 22, 2020
Jim Drain’s long-term installation Membrane marks one of two inaugural projects in di Rosa’s Conversation Pieces series and the artist’s first solo commission in Northern California. Drain was a member of Forcefield, a seminal Providence, Rhode Island-based collective active from 1996-2002 that explored the merging of music, performance, film, and installation into one platform. His subsequent independent works, which range from rambunctious two-and-three-dimensional textile collages made from reclaimed fabrics to large-scale immersive public art projects that include vibrant murals, sculptures, and furniture, conjure the sensibilities of core collection artists like Franklin Williams, Roy de Forest, and Joan Brown. Drain’s collective and interdisciplinary background coupled with his intuitive, irreverent blend of assemblage, craft, and form, draw from and resonate with the distinctive spirit of the Bay Area and its artistic legacy.
The region’s hallmarks of collaboration and community share affinities with Drain’s approach to this mutable Gallery 1 installation built to serve as a long term multi-use space for a range of activities and events, including artist talks, lectures, symposia, and performances, as well as an area for lounging, reading, and daydreaming amidst di Rosa’s idyllic landscape. Taking a decidedly design-based craft-centered approach, Drain’s project riffs off of Northern California countercultural utopian design themes encompassing a mix of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes, macramé textiles, and colorful tie-dyed motifs and draws from the rich history of craft and handwork centered in the Bay Area in the 1960’s and 70’s.
For Membrane, Drain’s signature mode of assemblage, which uses large welded steel frames to tether rag rug-like braided and ribboned fabrics, will be adapted to a suite of functional seating objects that take the metal frames of vintage aluminum lounge chairs and large geodesic half domes as their point of departure. The webbing for each piece (made collaboratively with assistants in Providence) will be comprised of vibrant hand-knotted macramé designs drawn from styles used in the work of Alexandra Jacopetti Hart’s Macrame Park (once installed outdoors in Bolinas, CA) and the work of Barbara Shawcroft (such as Legs, a large-scale public art sculpture once sited on the eastern end of the Embarcadero BART/Muni station.) This functional furniture system will be bathed in a reflective pink glow cast from the above skylights and paired with mobile iridescent screens that allow viewers to create their own spaces.
Membrane, as term and title, refers to the knotting and weaving techniques used in many of the works as well as the permeability of the objects placed within the space itself. Drain’s operative and immersive installation will create an organic, dreamlike experience that responds to the surrounding architecture and natural landscape of the gallery while building on the artist’s interests in developing generative utopian frameworks. Made for and completed by the viewer, Membrane offers a pliable, reflective space for dialogue and respite and locates something brighter and more inclusive in mounting dystopic times.
About the Artist
Jim Drain (b. 1975 in Cleveland, Ohio) is a multi-media artist based in Providence, Rhode Island and holds a BFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1998. His work with Forcefield was active from 1996 to 2002 and was part of the Whitney Biennial in 2002. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions including University of Florida, Gainesville; Locust Projects in Miami, Florida; Blanton Museum at the University of Texas, Austin; John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin; The Garage in Moscow, Russia; The Pit in Los Angeles, California; Nathalie Karg Gallery in New York City; Nina Johnson in Miami, Florida, and Parker Gallery in Los Angeles, Califonia. Drain’s work is in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of Art; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; Museum of Modern Art; The Rhode Island School of Design Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Davina Semo, Messenger, 2019, polished and patinated cast bronze bell, whipped nylon line, wooden clapper, powder-coated chain, hardware, bell: 32 inches tall x 13 inches diameter, overall dimensions variable. Photo: John Wilson White. Image courtesy of Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, and the artist.
Generator, 2019 | Polished and patinated cast bronze bell, powder-coated chain and hardware, polyurethane clapper bell: 34.5 inches tall x 13 inches diameter, overall dimensions variable | Video, Hugo Corro
Transmitter, 2019 | Polished and patinated cast bronze bell, powder-coated chain and hardware, polyurethane clapper bell: 22 inches tall x 9.5 inches diameter, overall dimensions variable | Video, Hugo Corro
OPENING RECEPTION: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2020
Davina Semo’s exhibition Core Reflections marks one of two inaugural projects in di Rosa’s Conversation Pieces series. The San Francisco-based artist works across two and three dimensions, often utilizing industrial materials that examine tensions between nature, society and the self. Her project for di Rosa considers the unique setting of Gallery 1 in relation to the landscape as well as its siting as a point of public assembly. Semo’s past works have looked to the urban environment for inspiration, much like key Beat era funk artists such as Bruce Conner, Wally Hedrick, George Herms, and Jay DeFeo, among others, that found potential in the overlooked, abject materials of the everyday, and defined the rise of Northern California assemblage in sculpture and collage of the 1950s and 1960s.
Semo’s commission for di Rosa inverts this lens by drawing on the surrounding industrial architecture of the gallery space amidst the expansiveness of the natural Northern California terrain just outside. Building on her more recent series of wall based works and suspended wax cast bronze bells that both invite and implicate the viewer through their highly polished reflective surfaces, Semo’s commission highlights the porous confines of di Rosa’s glass encased exhibition space, offering up a moment for viewers to examine themselves within the uncertainty of exterior forces.
Recent travels to Greece have inspired the artist’s emphasis on the Gallery 1 platform as an entry point for the viewer, conjuring the concept of the ancient agora, or an open public gathering space. Within this, we encounter a number of Semo’s substantial bells which hang by a variety of industrial grade chains, inviting viewers to walk around their forms and engage in their utility as instruments for expressing a call to attention. Two sets of wall-based works surround the gallery space: one continuing the artist’s explorations of warped, luminous surfaces that recall domestic mirrors, and in turn, our own visages; and the other, an entirely new exploration of acrylic and woven metal mesh substrates tethered with 3D printed casts of the sensuous skyfruit mahogany seed pod.
Taken as a whole, Semo’s assembly of works for di Rosa creates a subtle yet ecstatic mode of corporeal engagement by prompting a reevaluation of our contemporary mindset ruled by anxieties and unease. Core Reflections invites sustained moments of introspection and contemplation within the permeable precipice of built and organic space.
About the Artist
Davina Semo (b. 1981, Washington, DC) earned her BA at Brown University in 2003 and her MFA from the University of California, San Diego in 2006. Semo has shown extensively throughout the United States and Europe, including solo exhibitions at Jessica Silverman Gallery (San Francisco) and Marlborough Chelsea (New York). Group exhibitions include Hair and Skin at Derek Eller Gallery (New York), TOUCHPIECE at Hannah Hoffman Gallery (Los Angeles) and Show Me as I Want to Be Seen at The Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco). Davina Semo lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Semo is represented by Jessica Silverman Gallery (San Francisco), Marlborough Gallery (New York), and Ribordy Thetaz (Geneva).