Current Exhibitions

Containers of Community: Ehren Tool
July 1-September 7, 2014
 
For Containers of Community, veteran and ceramic artist Ehren Tool will create a new body of work that honors local veterans and highlights their shared experience. From June 7- June 29, Tool will work at the Palo Alto Art Center, creating thousands of ceramic cups (what he calls “war awareness art”) using imagery and objects collected from community members. As the cups are created, fired, and glazed, they will be displayed in the gallery, with the final exhibition on view from July 1-September 7.

Ehren Tool creates visually compelling ceramic objects that address the experience of war. He is best known for his cups, which are wheel-thrown and feature decal-produced and embossed images and symbols of war, violence, and the veteran experience. Notably, Tool has given away most of these cups, offering more than 14,000 of them to members of various communities since 2001. His primary intention with his artwork is to promote awareness: “I decorate cups with images of war and violence. The use of these icons reveals how abstract war is for most of our culture—so abstract in fact, that somehow it’s OK to use images of war as toys.” Tool has exhibited his vessels at institutions such as the Oakland Museum of California, the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles, the Berkeley Art Center, the Bellevue Arts Museum, the Euphrat Museum of Art in Cupertino, and the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University. He received his MFA from the University of California, Berkeley and his BFA from the University of Southern California.

This project was made possible by a grant from The Creative Work Fund, a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund supported by generous grants from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation.

Dana Harel: Between Dreams and Nightmares
June 13-September 7, 2014
 
 Left: Dana Harel, When I'm Gone, 2014, Mixed media on paper, 72 x 103 in. Courtesy of Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco
 Right: Artist Dana Harel Photo by Ronit Citri
Dana Harel: Between Dreams and Nightmares is a solo exhibition of new works by the Redwood City artist. Organized by Laguna Art Museum, this exhibition consists of fifteen mixed-media drawings of animal and human figures. Harel’s multi-layered works reflect the messiness of war and its effects on survivors, drawing on the artist’s personal relationships to the men in her family and ties to military life.

Dana Harel was born and raised in 1970 in Tel Aviv, Israel and works in San Francisco. She received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts. Her recent solo exhibitions have been at Gallery Wendi Norris in San Francisco; and Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art in Herzliya , Israel. Harel’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California; San Jose Contemporary Art Institute in San Jose, California; Napa Valley Museum in Napa; Root Division in San Francisco and Gen Art in San Francisco.

Dana Harel: Between Dreams and Nightmares was organized by Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA.



Double Take by Patrick Dougherty:
A site-specific installation

January 2011 -

Patrick Dougherty and detail of Ruaille Buaille (Hijinx)
2008, Parklands in County Offaly, Ireland.
Photo: James Fraher

The Palo Alto Art Center is honored to present a monumental, site-specific installation by Patrick Dougherty, one of the nation’s most prominent environmental sculptors. The public may view the artist’s creative process during his three week artist residency, January 11- 28, 2011, on the grounds of the Palo Alto Art Center.

Identified as the Jackson Pollock of saplings by art critic John Perreault, Patrick Dougherty is a process-oriented artist whose lyrical, organic works are created specifically for each site. Made from local and renewable willow saplings, his works embody natural life cycles, changing over time as the sticks settle and decay, eventually returning to the earth from which they grew. Dougherty has created over 200 monumental site-specific installations on the grounds of major museums, universities, botanical gardens, and private residences worldwide. The resulting works evoke a wide array of natural forms, ranging from nests to objects with a transparent architecture, like woodland dwellings, or basketry.

Environmental sensitivity is a major concern for the artist. Saplings are gathered from maintained sources so that the branches grow back to make new sticks for future uses. Dougherty does not use any artificial supports in his constructions because the inherent properties of saplings cause them to snag and entangle easily.

While there is a signature quality to his work, each of his compelling sculptures relates specifically to the physical site in a unique way. Dougherty believes that ideas percolate at the actual venue and that “the success of a piece lies in capturing the essence of a place and then playing with what you make of that essence.” Unlike other sculptors, he initially conceives of his work by making a series of word associations on both the physical and social qualities of a site. He is conscious of drawing in space, as he weaves sticks with lighter and darker colors and varying widths and lengths.

This project is commissioned by the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation and co-sponsored by the Palo Alto Public Art Commission. It is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Documentary film of the Patrick Dougherty installation at the Palo Alto Art Center (You Tube)

Patrick Dougherty Lecture at the Palo Alto Art Center (You Tube)

Public Reactions to Double Take by Patrick Dougerhty (You Tube)
Last Updated: Jul 1, 2014