Theater & Arts

Fresno Art Museum’s fall exhibitions open

“Water Cycle” by Margaret Lazzari.
“Water Cycle” by Margaret Lazzari. Special to The Bee

Painting, photography, children’s art and some sculpture will be on display during Fresno Art Museum’s fall exhibition series, opening Friday, Sept. 25.

Don’t miss the opening reception and artists’ talks Friday and Saturday, says Michele Ellis Pracy, museum executive director and chief curator.

“We are Fresno’s only art museum,” Pracy says, “so it’s a time when the community really does flock to our building. … Culture is at its high point at our opening.”

We want to be alive for this community and alive in this community.

Michele Ellis Pracy

The art is available for viewing through Jan. 3, except for the “Imaginary Worlds” exhibition, which will stay open for a year.

Margaret Lazzari

Margaret Lazzari, a professor and chair of the Roski School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California, was selected as this year’s Distinguished Woman Artist by the Council of 100, a committee of the museum.

A selection of her paintings will be on display, described as “abstractions that can be interpreted as metaphors for moments in life involving transformation, upheaval and energized states.”

I believe that art is relevant to everybody’s life.

Michele Ellis Pracy

“She’s very painterly,” Pracy says of Lazzari. “She loves pigment. … She comes up with compositions that are, ‘Wow!’ 

Pracy hopes people appreciate Lazzari’s “passion for what’s beautiful on the planet.”

“There’s just joy in the way she translates the planet, life, the energy of life, of being alive,” she says.

Urban California

This group show features the photos of 11 photographers from Central and Southern California and the Bay Area whose work depicts “urbanscapes.”

The show promises an exploration into the “urban experience and the human reaction to the man-made environment.”

The museum lauds the selected photographers for “pushing the envelope” with technique and subject matter.

Imaginary Worlds

The Imaginary Worlds exhibit is geared towards children but museum leaders hope the “make-believe, mysterious and magical” qualities resonate with people of all ages.

The series of paintings, sculptures and drawings by Leslie Batty, Leonard Filgate, Doug Hansen, Leslie Hawes, Bruno Pegoretti and Karen Mortillaro aim to reveal imaginary worlds.

The exhibition – curated by museum education director Susan Yost Filgate in conjunction with the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child program and Fresno County Office of Education – will be visited by every third-grader in Fresno Unified School District.

Ron Wigginton

The exhibit features eight mixed-media paintings from Ron Wigginton of Cascadel Woods. The Madera County man created the art during a three-week residency at artist Morris Graves’ studio, “The Lake,” in Northern California.

Pracy hopes his show “enlightens” people about what artists can accomplish when afforded an opportunity to leave the “hustle and bustle of the world behind.”

Pracy says Wigginton’s art was inspired by his stay at Graves’ 195-acre estate, “an extremely isolated and deliciously natural” place. Included in the show are two objects from Graves’ studio and home.

The exhibits are up for three months and they all deserve spending time in.

Michele Ellis Pracy

Carmen George: 559-441-6386, @CarmenGeorge

See the fall exhibitions

  • Gallery talks with the artists begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, at the Fresno Art Museum, 2233 N. First St., Fresno.
  • Opening night reception, featuring a no-host bar and light fare, is 6-8 p.m.
  • Gallery talks and reception free to Fresno Art Museum members, or $10 for non-members.
  • Free lecture by Margaret Lazzari 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, in the museum’s Bonner Auditorium.
  • The museum is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for non-members and free for museum members and children age 5 or younger.