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Reserved: Norma I. Quintana's photo 'Deployed' shows at Off the Preserve, Oct. 13-Nov.20.

Earthly Delights

The walls are alive with splendor this fall

By Gretchen Giles

At the end of August, the Marin Headlands offers splendid views as the light begins its low, golden-syrupy slant and the fog dies off, allowing better views of raptors, seals, late-summer flowers . . . and chain-smoking Dutch painters on bikes. In an appealing stunt that is half-serious and indeed half-stunt, Dutch painter Rinus Blomsteel, the self-proclaimed "Beast of Rotterdam," descends upon an unsuspecting North Bay public to puff about on his bike while observing our exquisiteness for future posterity.

Literally never photographed without an ashy fag set firmly between his nicotine-stained lips, Blomsteel plans to cycle the Marin Headlands, through the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, up to Tomales Bay and, after a short panting break, into the Yosemite Valley. Once sated with beauty, Blomsteel will decamp to San Francisco's Anja van Ditmarsch Gallery to paint up what he's observed. Look for the resulting exhibit, "Rinus Blomsteel: First Impressions of California," to debut Oct. 1 (415.885.2007). . . .

Students at Sonoma State University are going to be hard-pressed to be apathetic about politics this semester, as the University Library Art Gallery launches its interdisciplinary "It Matters!" campaign. Central to "It Matters!" is the work of Camp Meeker artist Lowell Darling, who ran against Jerry Brown for California governor in 1978; whose run-ins with the IRS over his legitimacy as an artist are legendary (and art in their own right); and who launched his "Run Yourself for President" campaign during the last presidential election. Perhaps best known for his "Hollywood Archeology" work, in which cutting-room floor scraps take on new celluloid life, Darling speaks and answers questions about his interactive conceptual work on Sept. 10 at the Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center as part of his "Artist or Politician?" installation at the University Library Art Gallery (707.664.2397). . . .

Currently on show at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, "Sonoma Collects" features privately-owned work coming out from living rooms, hallways and, surely, attics, to be enjoyed by more than just family members and the odd guest. Featured artists whose work is owned by Sonoma residents include Manuel Neri, William T. Wiley, David Hockney, Claes Oldenberg and other wonders, on show through Oct. 17.

Next up is the SVMA's annual Dias de los Muertos community altar Oct. 28-Nov. 1. The museum's fall season ends with "Views of Oaxaca," pairing paintings by Jonathan Barbieri with photos of the village by Marcela Taboada. Taboada's section of the exhibit is titled "Women of Clay," as she took the photos directly following a devastating earthquake in Oaxaca. While most of the village's men were el norte, actually working right in Windsor, the women at home rebuilt the town themselves (707.939.7862). . . .

The Museum of Contemporary Art at the Luther Burbank Center starts the season off right with a party on Sept. 1 in honor of sculpture installations by Daniel Oberti, Penny Michel and William Wareham. Once the current "Trinitas" show ends, MOCA rightly names "Five Art Stars," exhibiting work by Ray Belder, the great Mike Henderson, "Trinitas" contributor Frances McCormack, rising star Chris Finley and encaustic master Mark Perleman, beginning Oct. 23 (707.527.0297). . . .

The di Rosa Preserve in Napa (707.226.5991) celebrates its third annual fundraising auction on Sept. 11, with the show running through Oct. 10. At its retail outlet arm, Off the Preserve, photographer Norma I. Quintana's portrait of a community, titled "Forget Me Not," opens with a reception Oct. 16 and runs through Nov. 4 (707.253.8300). . . .

Santa Rosa painter D. A. Bishop, whose Hopper-esque views of ordinary storefronts, rooflines and cars are deep and rich and sometimes scary, opens a one-person show at the Quercia Gallery Sept. 3-Oct. 31, with a reception on Sept. 19 (707.865.0243). . . . Meanwhile, Ned Kahn doesn't capture the outside but rather plays with it, giving vision to the wind through his sculptural civic art pieces that move and reflect the stir of the elements. Interior-sized examples of his work at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts open with a reception on Sept. 10 and run through Oct. 17; Kahn gives a public lecture on his work Sept. 16, and the gallery space is somewhat shared by an ARTrails preview. "Innovations in Fiberart II" follows, Oct. 21- Nov. 28 (707.829.4797). . . . Kahn, who is amidst work on 14 separate public art pieces, speaks again on Sept. 27 as part of SRJC's fall arts series (707.527.4372). . . .

Life remains an important celebration at the annual Art for Life auction and exhibit supporting the Face to Face/Sonoma County AIDS Network, in which some 250 artists gladly donate works for free. Preview the work Sept. 9-11; the auction is Sept. 12 (707.544.1581). . . .

Art Works Downtown, a public gallery in San Rafael, welcomes the fall season with "Magic Models," created for film by the geniuses at Industrial Light and Magic on Sept. 16-Oct. 29, with a reception Sept. 23. Such artful tomfoolery is followed by a juried exhibit of figurative work, Nov. 4-Dec. 23 (415.451.8237). . . . More figurative work is on show at the SRJC Art Gallery, with Healdsburg painter Kathleen Youngquist curating a figurative show featuring such notables as Youngquist herself, sculptor Carol Setterlund and the late Viola Frey from Sept. 16 to Oct. 28 (707.524.4298). . . .

Finishing up the goofy fun of their annual "Box Show" fundraiser with a blowout party on Sept. 5, the Gallery Route One in Pt. Reyes Station features the intriguingly titled "Crunch Goosh Project," with work by Zakary Zide from Sept. 10 to Oct. 17 and their usually excellent juried show Oct. 22Nov. 28 (415.663.1347). . . .

The Quicksilver Mine Co. in Forestville looks back while looking forward this fall, featuring exhibits by former Sonoma County artists now moved elsewhere. First up are paintings by Libby Hayes and sculpture by Kurt Steger, now Grass Valley residents, opening with a reception on Sept. 18 and running through Oct. 31. . . . Greatly loved sculptor Poe Dismuke, formerly the artist-in-residence at the Sonoma County dump and now a citizen of Bisbee, Ariz., returns with his whimsical toys and duct-tape ravens in "The Poe Show," Nov. 5-Dec. 12 (707.887.0799). . . .

Formerly known as the Sight and Insight Art Center, the newly renamed O'Hanlon Center for the Arts in Mill Valley hosts "Looking Forward: Innovative Design and Architecture in Mill Valley," with an opening reception on Sept. 7 and an appropriately swank party with Dwell magazine on Sept. 19. They follow it up with a juried show, "Art and Politics," judged by gallery owner Claudia Chapline and political cartoonist Phil Frank Oct. 5-30 (415.388.4331). . . .

Things aim toward the outside in the Sonoma County Museum's "Botany 12" exhibit, featuring work by 12 artists within and outside of the Bay Area. Locals include painter and Bohemian husband William O'Keeffe, whose rich, chewy investigations of decay and transformation are informed directly by natural processes, as well as husband-and-wife artists Tony King and Pamela Glasscock and abstract landscape artist William Wheeler. "Botany 12" shows Oct. 15-Feb. 15 with an opening reception on Oct. 23 (707.579.1500). . . .

The Cultural Arts Council of Sonoma County previews the annual ARTrails event Sept. 24-Oct. 23; celebrates Day of the Dead with a community altar Oct. 30-Nov. 5; and shows the best of the Thursday Night Drawing Group Nov. 12-Dec. 18 (707.579.2787). . . .

Currently showing its "Word Up" marriage of language and visuals through Sept. 25 in conjunction with India House Gallery's "Elicit" show (the Aug. 28 opening reception honors painter Alice Thibeau's new book, Pray for Us Sinners; 707.824.1627) and the Sonoma County Book Fair, the A Street Gallery features the work of seven contemporary West Coast printmakers with "Confluence," opening with a reception Oct. 2 and running through Nov. 13. The year ends with A Street's "House" show, exhibiting the work of the artists who rent studio space behind the gallery, Nov. 20-Jan. 15. . . .

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From the August 25-31, 2004 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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