SacBee Article about State Fair 2013

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Jurors’ choices result in strong State Fair art exhibit

Bee Art Correspondent

Published Friday, Jul. 19, 2013

If last year’s California State Fair fine art exhibit could have
been called “The Death of Painting,” this year’s marks its rebirth.

juror Brenda Louie did a terrific job of assembling strong paintings in
a variety of styles, and her choice for the Juror’s Award is

“I Am Your Chief,” a collaboration between Patricia
Mills and Michael Rowden de Portola of Fair Oaks, is big, bold and
imaginative. It manages to be both visceral and spiritual at the same
time. Referencing a little-known event in the Indian wars, it is full of
dark, contending forces expressed purely through paint. The whole is
scattered with lively petroglyph forms and held together with dotted
lines that lead the viewer in and out of the painting.

For a collaboration it’s remarkably seamless.

From an
affectionate portrait of K Street by Sacramentan Steve Memering to
playful and dashing abstractions by Goia Fonda, who teaches at
Sacramento City College, the paintings command your attention and reward
extended looking.

Among the highlights are “Stages,” a strong
painting of women at three stages of life, by Gaylynn Ribeira of Castro
Valley; “At Your Fingertips,” a straightforward, painterly oil of
drinking fountains by Judy Knott of Elk Grove; “Illinois,” a large
photographically rendered oil of women hanging out laundry by Rose
Ponting of Redding; and “Lagoon With Moon,” a soft, texturally rich
landscape by Earl Boley of Carmichael.

The rest of the judges also
did a good job this year. Clay Jensen gave the Juror’s Award in
sculpture and the Best of Show Award to a playful and prepossessing work
made of a culvert pipe and plastic water bottles that mimics a giant
leak in the wall of Building 7 where the art show is installed.  The
artist, Kurt Barton of Meadow Vista, gives us a witty piece in which
plastic turns into water.

Other sculptures that caught my eye are
“Milo’s Birthday,” a giant mixed- media sculpture ringed with thrift
store globes of the world by Dave Lane of Sacramento; “Self-Portrait
With Mother,” a surreal assemblage of a figure incorporating found
objects by James Mullen of Grass Valley; “Moai of One,” a large Corten
steel sculpture of an abstract shape pierced with two holes, by Thomas
Ramey of Sacramento; and a magical figure made of nails by Lynn Dau of
Los Altos.

Erik Friedman gave the Juror’s Award for drawing to
Annie Murphy-Robinson of Carmichael for her provocative rendering of a
young teen in underwear with a cigarette, a disturbing image with a noir
edge. Other drawings that stood out are a subtle rectangle of intricate
markings by Hei Fok of Sacramento and a large, graphically rich image
of women with birds on their heads by Mariam Pakbaz of Vacaville.

art other than photography is a surprisingly strong category this year.
Juror Rachel Clarke gave the top award to a fantastical digital drawing
of a Renaissance woman slumbering as gargoyles and demons arise from
her hair by Sarma Karsiere of Sacramento. There are also entertaining
videos on view by Brad Stanley-Owens of Vacaville, Skyler Brown of
Sacramento, and Mikko Lautamo of Fair Oaks.

Photography juror Drew
Johnson gave the Juror’s Award in that category to “Letter From My
a poignant image of a Korean woman reading a letter that is
in sharper focus than the figure, by Gail Parris of Sacramento. I also
liked an honest portrait of a woman with a worn face by Kim Kohler of
Elk Grove, a series of four portraits made with a handmade wet-plate
collodion method by Ivan Sohrakoff of Woodland, and “She Dreamed She Was
a Cat” by Dawn Blanchfield of Lincoln, a macabre image of children at
play that reminded me of works by Ralph Eugene Meatyard.

In all
the jurors selected 180 works from 1,554 entries this year and put
together one of the strongest State Fair shows in recent memory.


Where: Building 7,  Expo Center, Cal Expo,  1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento

When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays;  10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays- Sundays, through July 28

Free with admission to the fair: $12 general, $10 ages 62-plus; $8
children 5-12; free for children 4 and under. Parking $10.


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Read more articles by Victoria Dalkey