Creating a narrative
Another compelling Stories exhibit at 1078 Gallery
December is story time for the 1078 Gallery. Each year during the holiday season, the gallery puts on the festive Stories group exhibit with an accompanying small book that—along with the works on the walls—tells the tales of the artists in the show.
The brainchild of 1078 board member Thomasin Saxe, who also curates, the exhibit brings together five artists with a strong Chico connection. And for Stories Seven, the 5-by-5-inch, 22-page book available to gallery visitors features biographical snapshots penned by each of the artists.
In the book, Chico ex-pat Rudy Salgado, who now lives in Louisville, Ky., notes his artistic evolution began at the age of 23 while attending Chico State. Meanwhile, on the walls, his stone lithograph, “Distilling Apparatus,” gets close and personal with the alchemy of his artistic vision. The world in the piece is fluid and moving and psychedelic, with recognizable and not-so-typical shapes that both contrast and complement one another.
Bay Area transplant Robin Indar used to sing with East Bay punk band Black Fork, as well as play bass in all-female band The Clams, and currently performs with long-running local trio Severance Package. The musician/mosaic artist often blends her two worlds with music-themed pieces (boomboxes make two appearances in the show) and she melds her passion for ceramics and paintings into mosaic creations sometimes built around found objects. “Nelly the Elephant” offers a plastic coin bank covered with mauve-toned ceramic embellishments. Nelly is freeze-framed, happily traipsing, trunk saluting high in the air as she tromps through yellow and brown, spike-infused terra firma.
When retired Chico State art history professor Dolores Mitchell notes in her bio that childhood illnesses relegated her to her mother’s bedroom, where she got “hooked” on art, it jogs a recollection of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo’s history of illness and injury and its influence on her life as a self-taught artist. Mitchell’s part in this exhibit is Chico-centric, combining recognizable landmarks and motifs from different locations. In her “Chico Mythology” series of oil paintings, she captures icons like the Senator Theatre marquee, squeezing detail into every inch, with color that vibrates off the canvas.
Leslie Mahon-Russo’s art, first born after breast cancer chemotherapy, evolved into her venturing into a new medium: cold wax and oils. Her seven pieces, all untitled, possess a quality that conjures up images of Mark Rothko’s atmospheric paintings, but with spatters of dramatic color that break up the serenity.
Tom Patton’s introduction to photography in 1962 may have been fueled by taking revenge on his sister via her Brownie camera. Today, the Chico State photography professor has graduated to archival digital pigment prints, such as “Man Talking, de Young Museum, San Francisco,” a spare study in spatial perception between plant, person and shadow.
The gallery’s Stories shows have always been a treat, a double dose of creativity from artists—on the walls and in the book. And this first edition of the annual exhibit in the gallery’s new Park Avenue digs carries on the tradition wonderfully.