This summer the Bedford Gallery celebrates the culture, style, and persona of visionary painter Frida Kahlo, an artist who continues to inspire with her story of love, adventure, and pain. The World of Frida weaves juried and invitational shows that reference the artist with a national, traveling photography exhibit titled Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray that makes a stop in Walnut Creek after traveling across North America. Hungarian-born Muray—who met Kahlo in a chance encounter in Mexico in 1931 and became her lover and friend—shot some of the most iconic color and black and white images of the artist that exist. This exhibition is organized by the Nickolas Muray Photo Archives and is circulated through GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions.
A new public art sculpture made from woven willow saplings is going up in front of the Walnut Creek Library by artist Patrick Dougherty. The opening celebration will take place on May 26th from 2 to 4pm and the sculpture will available for the next two years.
The Bedford Gallery and City of Walnut Creek Public Art Department has secured a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant for a public art project that will bring world-renowned sculptor Patrick Dougherty to Walnut Creek’s downtown Civic Park—a tremendous accomplishment that will boost community involvement in the arts. The project is a monumental installation that Dougherty will create from woven willow saplings; the public is invited to apply to be a volunteer assistant and work side-by-side with the artist to build this one-of-a-kind environment in Civic Park. The project is slated to begin May 8th, 2018 and completed by May 26th, ending with a celebration event at Civic Park. The installation will be on view in Walnut Creek for two years.
This project is inspired by the idea that art is for everyone.
“Our main goal with this project is to engage the community in and around Walnut Creek by involving them in the creation of public art,” says Bedford curator Carrie Lederer. “We want to broaden the audience for the City’s public art program and find new ways to involve all those in our community who are drawn to urban art, but have not have had the opportunity to be engaged.”
This exciting exhibition features works by 14 African American artists who have helped to shape the contemporary art conversation in the Bay Area and beyond. The show covers a wide range of prints, paintings, quilts, and sculptures, and includes an array of abstract and formal imagery. Narratives that speak to personal experiences and political perspectives are woven throughout. At the heart of this show is a Berkeley based fine art print studio—Paulson Fontaine Press—who over the past two decades has developed an unparalleled roster of internationally celebrated artists – artists like Martin Puryear , Kerry James Marshall, and the Gee’s Bend Quilters – who characterize the fresh perspectives that are today’s avant-garde.
This winter, the Bedford presents the work of Bay Area sculptor Ned Kahn in a solo show that studies the artists’ lifelong fascination with the confluence of science and art. At the center of the show is Seed Vortex, Kahn’s enormous metal sculpture weighing thousands of pounds and spanning 20 feet in diameter.
Seed Vortex shifts a transient sea of tiny mustard seeds in a slow, constant and captivating spin, addressing life’s puzzles, like eternity, unity, chaos and change. The inspiration for Seed Vortex goes back to the 1980s when Kahn was an artist-in-residence at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. There, he explored the Physics of the Granular State, an emerging field of science that studied the way powders, sand and other dry, granular materials moved. Kahn created a series of interactive sculptures at the Exploratorium that encouraged viewers to influence and observe the patterns of granular motion. This work led to Negev Wheel, which Kahn made in 2016 for the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco and filled with sand from Israel’s Negev Desert.
Spotted in front of Aveda at Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek.
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Political conversations have turned a renewed spotlight on women and their power and influence on every corner of society, including the arts. In the spirit of continued discovery, About Abstraction: Bay Area Women Painters celebrates 16 Bay Area women artists, emerging and established, who have worked in abstraction for years. There is no monolithic visual definition of abstraction, and this show provides a platform for a breadth of work that features precise, powerful lines, as well as gestural patterns.
While Bay Area art history is rooted in figurative art, the past few decades show us that abstract art is flourishing. The work in About Abstraction suggests a kinship with the Abstract Expressionist movement of 1940s SoHo and San Francisco, and illustrates the enduring vitality and power of nonrepresentational art for well over a century.