The Elk Grove Fine Arts Center on Jan. 2 held its first event of 2021, a First Saturday reception dedicated to art expressing “Alternative Views.”
This showcase included pieces in multiple media, such as paintings, photographs and sculpture, and was judged by visual artist Robert Bowen, based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In its call for submissions to the show, the center said artwork fitting the “alternative views” theme “may include surrealistic, fantasy or other elements to show a different view of the world beyond our everyday reality.”
The arts center’s Darrci Robertson said the theme was intended to prompt artists to think in new ways.
“We just wanted something different than we normally do,” Robertson said. “(It’s) something where you had to think about it or express yourself in a different way than you’re normally used to expressing.”
Awards were handed out for first place, second place and best of show. Second place went to “Everlasting Flower,” an Art Nouveau- and Art Deco-styled watercolor by Dawn Star Wood. First place was awarded to “St. Florent,” a photograph of a Corsican street corner taken by Julien Landau. The Best-of-Show Award went to “Hekate,” an oil painting by Massachusetts artist Joan Appel.
Landau snapped his first-place photo in the evening outside a cafe in the village of Saint-Florent, Corsica; the image is dominated by golden streetlamp light and dusky blue shadows. The Tiburon photographer emphasized that he achieved the vibrant colors in camera.
“I’d like to mention that it’s not Photoshopped,” he said. “I bumped the colors in the camera to ‘vivid.’”
Landau continued that he tries to evoke a “dreamlike” quality, as well as happiness and excitement, with his nightlife images.
“I think of the kind of art that I like on my walls, for instance, and it’s always uplifting or inspirational,” he said.
Asked why he chose “St. Florent” as his submission, Landau first cited the colors. He also noted that, though the patrons of the cafe are visible, the focus of the image is “more the feeling of that evening.”
“And there really was a buzz to the town,” Landau added, “so I was glad to capture that.”
Second-place winner Wood said she hadn’t anticipated that her watercolor “Everlasting Flower” would place.
“(It feels) a bit surprising; I wasn’t exactly expecting it,” the Elk Grove painter said. “I was just aiming to get in, so this was a pleasant surprise, especially to kick off the new year with.”
“Everlasting Flower” depicts a woman in a black-and-white 1920s dress. She stands in front of a colorful, stylized background of a vase and flowers.
Wood said she had originally started the painting as a demonstration piece for Pence Gallery in Davis. When the arts center asked for submissions for “Alternative Views,” Wood felt her piece’s combination of Art Nouveau and Art Deco aesthetics fit the bill.
The painting, Wood said, communicates that “flowers and women, throughout history and art, are always dominant subject matters or decorations, or images of either power (or) beauty.”
“Alternative Views” runs until Jan. 28 at the Elk Grove Fine Arts Center. The center is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is located at 9683 Elk Grove-Florin Road. For more information, visit www.ElkGroveFineArtsCenter.org, call (916) 685-5992, or email email@example.com.