For Fresno Pacific University professor Chris Janzen, art and music go together like peanut butter and jelly. Separately they’re both good, but together, they sing.
In his new exhibition “Joyful Noise,” at Fig Tree Gallery, Janzen promises his most “musical” art yet.
The show, which opens 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6, is a highlight of ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods.
Janzen, in a statement about the show, says that jazz improvisation has always been a part of the process as he develops paintings, but lately it’s become even more integral. “Recently I began to listen to the actual sound that the brushes make,” he says. “I even started attaching microphones to the surfaces and amplifying them with a guitar amp.”
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The artist describes each of the 20-plus pieces in the show as like a song. “Some are entirely abstract like an instrumental tune with no words while others contain multiple images, implying a story.”
Each line, shape, and texture drawn also made sound, thus turning the drawing into a percussion instrument that interacted with the band.
At times, his art has literally become music. When the Tim Shaghoian Trio performed in May at the Fresno Art Museum during its “When Art Meets Jazz” event, Janzen amplified the drawing surface and plugged it into a bunch of guitar pedals. “Each line, shape, and texture drawn also made sound, thus turning the drawing into a percussion instrument that interacted with the band.”
The result: the drawing “May 23, 2015 Improvisation II.”
Some of Janzen’s works, such as his painting “Mouthlegpiece,” critique popular culture, and his Mennonite faith is reflected by his use of recycled materials and frustration with our society’s focus on body image and celebrity. He calls his style “Menno Pop Surrealism.”
A closing reception will be held at the gallery noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29.
Other ArtHop highlights:
▪ Aileen Imperatrice shows recent work embodying the theme of resilience in an exhibition of paintings at Jewel fm Gallery, 1415 Fulton St. “As a visual artist, I have found release through my process while making art, which is why my work is so personal and includes references to significant aspects of my life,” she says.
▪ At Spectrum Art Gallery, 608 E. Olive Ave., Edward Gillum’s “Then 2 NOW” features photography work going back to the mid-1970s all the way to a few weeks ago. “It is a very personal and extensive show,” the artist says. “I want viewers to be able to see the many sides of my creative process. This allows the earlier work to inform and define a path toward what is being expressed in the current work.”
A “Conversation with the Artist” will be held 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14. The exhibition continues through Aug. 30.
▪ At the Chris Sorensen Studio, Cynthia Chapman Manuszak offers new paintings in an exhibition titled “Angels in August.” Details: www.chrissorensenartstudio.com.
- 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, at most venues