Art in the bungalow

1078 Gallery pop-up show fills a local house with art

“Squawksalot Scale Strutt’n,” by Lynette Krehe

“Squawksalot Scale Strutt’n,” by Lynette Krehe

Photo by Saunthy Singh

Stories Six, a 1078 Gallery pop-up show, now showing at 1143 Salem St., through Dec. 23.
Gallery hours: Thursday-Saturday, 12:30-5:30 p.m.

Despite having been evicted from its Broadway digs last spring, 1078 Gallery is still alive. In fact, the gallery that has called three different locations home over its 36 years will soon be moving into its fourth spot, as a lease has recently been signed for an old commercial building at 1710 Park Ave.

In the meantime, as the new location won’t be show-ready for a while, the 1078 board and volunteers have improvised for the gallery’s traditional December group exhibition. A charming 1940s bungalow on Salem Street is serving as a pop-up venue for Stories Six, which opened Nov. 30.

The annual Stories shows typically feature artists with a strong Chico connection, and for this sixth edition those include John Ferrell, Lynette Krehe, Maria I. Navarro, Jason Tannen and Cameron Kelly (who graciously donated her home for the naturally lit exhibition space).

Thomasin Saxe, a 1078 board member, curates the Stories exhibits, which include a little book compiled by the artists, directed by Saxe’s prompts, and published by the gallery. This edition’s visuals and biographical vignettes—which aren’t necessarily connected to the art filling the space—become their own voyeuristic additions.

In addition to the art, Kelly has also labeled her home’s furniture. Her green vinyl couch bears the title “The Earth Revolted.” And throughout the house, the setting and the art interact to tell the artists’ stories. One of Kelly’s sculptures, “John Pitcher,” features leather saddle straps that bring to mind horses and ranches, but the aluminum-cast rope hanging from the straps really pays homage to her father, an avid sailor. “The Stanford Bed” holds a curious story of how mid-19th-century California Gov. Leland Stanford’s son entered the world and how the bed ended up in Kelly’s house. And in the same room, Navarro’s watercolor and ink “Mount Analog” series of colors and shapes offers a contrasting juxtaposition.

In a back bedroom, Krehe presents a highly narrative, sometimes stinging view of current events. In “Squawksalot Scale Strutt’n,” a suit-clad rooster dangling a pair of scales aloft prances in heels around holes where little people peep out. Under Krehe’s hand, paper looks like richly hued fabric. India and dye-based inks deconstructed with bleach reveal the building sinking in one of the holes is really the White House.

Out the back door and across the yard, in a 350-foot studio flooded with light from a west-facing wall of windows, Ferrell’s multimedia work holds court. On hollow core door pieces, Ferrell’s multilayered work pops with texture and color. Distressed wood burned by gunpowder, gold-leaf paint that changed color under fire and large Chinese characters that at first glance could mimic marble make for an intriguing combination.

But a closer look reveals blueprint markings on those Chinese letters representing the elements. While the background may be abstract, there are unmistakable linear features reminiscent of Art Deco. Color application layered with gold leaf creates a fluidity to coalesce the distinct separate media and create an enticing whole. The Chinese letter for “water” may be enveloped by blue color, but Ferrell’s treatment conjures up an image of a spine or, conversely, an engine block sans pistons.

Back inside Kelly’s living room, Tannen’s photos feature Butte County storefronts. Playing with light and reflection, Tannen’s lens also points to contradiction, as in “Happy Trails.” In it, a life-size cutout of Roy Rogers wearing snazzy striped slacks tucked into his cowboy boots gleefully waves from inside a clothing store, almost making fun of the plain khakis hanging on the rack outside.

No gallery, no problem. The 1078 delivers as usual. Stay tuned for future fundraisers—including the 1078 at 1710 Party, Jan. 20, at Chico Women’s Club—to help the gallery raise money for permits and fees for its new digs.