‘Back on the map’

1078 Gallery’s new home is filled with art

“Aftermath,” by Carol McClendon

“Aftermath,” by Carol McClendon

Photo by Saunthy Singh

1078 Gallery Members Show, through Sept. 9.
1078 Gallery
1710 Park Ave.

Last Saturday (Aug. 18) was a typical, sizzling summer evening in Chico, so naturally, as the 1078 Gallery welcomed visitors for the opening reception of its Members Show, the air-conditioning broke down. But that didn’t faze the happy guests at 1710 Park Ave., the gallery’s new home, as they helped the nonprofit celebrate both the location and its 37th anniversary.

“We have a lease for five years,” announced Erin Wade, president of the 1078 board. “This is a bit smaller—1,900 square feet—than the last location on Broadway, but we’ll have a dedicated stage and moveable wall that we’ve not had before. It’ll be easier to have art and music together.”

The gallery had built a following by offering events that focused on arts beyond the visual—including literary, theatrical and musical.

“The music scene is burgeoning,” said 1078’s exhibition coordinator, Cameron Kelly, during the reception, “so we’ll be working on acoustics, panels for the ceiling. And doing something with the [cement] floor.”

In the meantime, the inaugural art exhibit is up, and the south-side gallery is hosting paintings and sculptures by 63 of its members at the new digs.

The saturated blue of Susan Larsen and Patrick Collentine’s “Untitled” piece pulls a viewer in to get the full effect of the handmade paper studded with sticks and leaves. But it’s the bit of organic shaped red glass sliced by thin white lines emerging from behind that offers a contrast in color and texture. The trailing electrical cord leaves a viewer wishing for darkness to see it illuminated.

Stephen O’Connell’s multimedia “The Distance Between Here and There” is a seemingly simplistic piece of a yellow metal tape measure manipulated and twisted to take on an almost floating life of its own. But it also perhaps speaks to the convolutions of life, as one viewer ruefully observed out loud, “This is how my brain feels.”

Stevi Mittman’s “Homage to Marcel Duchamp” offers a bicycle wheel mounted off the ground to spin in the air—mimicking Duchamp’s own Dadaist “Bicycle Wheel” piece. But with the addition of some multicolored stained-glass triangles in between the spokes, Mittman’s piece morphs into a whimsical kaleidoscope.

With the skies still hazy from fires, two pieces brought that reality inside. Carol McClendon’s “Aftermath” is a 3-D clay outline of a house, revealing ceramic match books inside as broken branches pierce the roof, a simple execution, with a startling and haunting impact. Todd Hall’s “Lance Line” offers a line of fire curving through a dark landscape in his metal digital print. At first, it could seem like a firebreak, but there’s no other burning to curtail. So it becomes a sad reminder of the beauty of fire when it’s under control.

In both style and subject, Cameron Crawford’s “Alternative Facts” painted on a ceramic plate is reminiscent of the work of Irving Norman, a Bay Area artist and Jewish immigrant from Poland who painted highly detailed, stinging commentaries of social criticism during the 1940s. Crawford divided his clay canvas in two, the left part depicting a 1950s-era radio station that elicits a comparison to this century’s “fake news.”

On the right side, cleaning women wield a mop and bucket to swab a black river, while red smoke stacks spew out factory smoke. Oil pumps like those dotting the southern part of this state encircle the whole picture.

Judging by the large and enthusiastic crowd at the opening, it’s obvious Chico’s art community was ready for the 1078 to be back on the map.