Heather Anderson has her subject matter down cold.
“I got interested in painting glaciers since they are attached to the mountains I have climbed and loved,” says the Fresno artist. “Unfortunately, that attachment is no longer stable, and the beautiful glaciers of earlier times are now metamorphosing into rivulets coalescing into waterfalls, and emptying into the nearest bays.”
In other words: global warming. Her new show at Fig Tree Gallery, titled “Vanishing Glaciers,” is one of my picks for ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods.
Anderson has long been an outspoken proponent of the environment and the integrity of the National Park Service, and she offers this new exhibition to help celebrate the system’s 100th anniversary and to “press for more respect for wilderness and nature.” She was recognized in 2012 by the Fresno Arts Council with a Horizon Award for her dedication to environmental art. Two years later, in a show titled “Wilderness” at Fig Tree, she told me it would probably be her last show in a career that began making sketches of the Sierra Nevada on her very first trip to the mountains, a honeymoon, in 1950.
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Not so. She is as fired up as ever about the environment, and she hopes her new show will get other people feeling that way, too. She asks in her artist’s statement: We now know that it is up to us, as the largest producer of the planet’s carbon dioxide, to change our ways. When will we learn to respect our beautiful land, our water, air, sky, wildlife and wilderness?”
Every time I talk with Anderson I’m impressed with her single-mindedness when it comes to her beloved mountains and her determination to make a difference.
In many of her past works, Anderson paints recognizable forms, including peaks, valleys, rocks and water. But the colors are abstract and startling: purple skies, ocher mountain ridges, impossibly turquoise lakes. In her new paintings of glaciers, however, she uses what might be called more conventional color selections, lots of icy blues and bold streaks of frozen-sherbet greens, to depict these mighty geological formations.
As part of her ArtHop event, Anderson presents a special guest at 6:15 p.m.: park ranger Frank Helling, known for portraying famed naturalist John Muir in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, will be recalling a few of his “rambles over glaciers.”
Details: Fig Tree Gallery, 644 Van Ness Ave. www.figtreegallery.us. The exhibition runs through June 26.
Continuing the nature theme, the Jewel fm Gallery features paintings by Faith Rumm, whose project depicting scenes on the John Muir Trail was featured as a stop in last year’s Sierra Art Trails. Rumm aims to complete 100 paintings from her multiple hikes on the trail.
The large-scale paintings in oil were created from a combination of photographs taken along the trail, watercolor and pencil sketches, and memory.
The gallery promises a lively time with music by Llama Boy.
Details: Jewel fm Gallery, 1415 Fulton St. www.kjwl.com.
At Spectrum Art Gallery, the work of two fine-art photographers in concurrent shows takes you to other lands and landscapes.
Joan K. Sharma, an art professor at Fresno State, features images from recent trips to India and Bhutan in “Reflections.” Some images appear to be abstractions while others are more a documentary approach. In all her work, she writes, “Composition, color and design elements are carefully considered as they relate to the subject matter.”
In “Light and Landscape,” the Bay Area-based photographer Vidya, who goes by one name, uses light to “convey my innermost sense of connection and spirituality to our majestic landscapes.” One of her big influences is Ansel Adams.
Details: Spectrum Art Gallery, 608 E. Olive Ave. www.spectrumphotogallery.org, 559-266-0691. Exhibitions run through July 3. “Friday Photography Live: Discussion of work and Q&A with Joan K. Sharma” is 7 p.m. Friday, June 3.
Fresno State professor Laura Meyer is known as an art historian, but here’s a chance to see some of her studio work. “Mixed Blessings” at Corridor 2122 features two large, suspended, mobile sculptures, each measuring 15-20 feet in diameter.
One of those works, titled “Constellation” is intensely personal. It consists of disinterred antique dolls made of stitched leather and sawdust stuffing. The sculpture came at a time of introspection in her life when she began to face up to a history of childhood abuse and neglect.
“The dolls became a vehicle for visualizing the suffering I had tried for so many years to push out of consciousness,” she writes in her artist’s statement. I’ve heard it said that when we bury feelings, we bury them alive. The dolls are both dead and alive, the same way I felt inside. It was terrifically satisfying to disinter them and make them into something that lives and moves in the shared world of visual reality.”
Details: The exhibition runs through June 26 at Corridor 2122, 2122 Mono St. www.corridor2122.com.
Just in time for the presidential primary, you can take a walk back in history by viewing previous Fresno Bee election front pages from 1924-2012. There also will be a slideshow featuring presidential visits to the central San Joaquin Valley, starting with Teddy Roosevelt in 1903.
Details: The exhibition will be up through the month of June at The Bee’s front lobby, 1626 E St. Hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays.