2013 Exhibits

Bibliophilia

Exhibition Dates: September 21December 15, 2013

Robert Dawson, Library Built By Ex-slaves, Allensworth, California

The Palo Alto Art Center will host Bibliophilia, an exhibition featuring drawings, paintings, and sculptural works by artists who are united by their love of books and libraries. Bibliophilia showcases the work of fourteen artists who use discarded books as raw materials, make and illustrate their own books, and photograph books and libraries. Featured artists include Laurent de Brunhoff, Ginger Burrell, Patricia Curtan, Robert Dawson, Adam Donnelly, Ala Ebtekar, Lisa Kokin, Tony May, Emily Payne, Christopher Reynolds, Scot Velardo, Catherine Wagner, Belle Yang and Xiaoze Xie, inviting us to share their fascination with books as hand-held, printed objects.

“The Palo Alto Art Center is honored to present Bibliophilia—timed perfectly to commemorate the temporary location of Palo Alto’s Main Library in our building during their renovation,” says Palo Alto Art Center Director, Karen Kienzle. “At a time when digital devices have become ubiquitous and when the act of reading is more likely to happen on a screen than on a page, artists in these exhibitions extol the myriad creative applications of physical books. The Art Center is also pleased to be collaborating with the Fine Arts Gallery at San Francisco State University on their concurrent exhibition The Illuminated Library. With the collaborative presentation of The Illuminated Library and Bibliophilia we hope to present our audiences with all of the promise one finds in a new book or an undiscovered library—an opportunity for learning, dialogue, surprise, and inspiration.”

The exhibition encompasses everything from works found between the covers of books, to the books themselves. Emily Payne creates assemblage collages using discarded books and their covers, while Christopher Reynolds coats cookbooks in monosodium glutamate (MSG) and preserves them in epoxy. Robert Dawson’s photographic series Public Library: An American Commons considers the interior and exterior function of public libraries, from the grand to the humble. Laurent de Brunhoff shares two original watercolors from the children’s book, Babar’s Yoga for Elephants. Patricia Curtan, longtime collaborator of Alice Waters, offers a taste of her ink and charcoal drawings of locally grown fruits and vegetables, soon to be published in an upcoming Curtan/Waters cookbook. Belle Yang offers an autobiographical glimpse into her life through illustrations from her graphic memoir, Forget Sorrow. Ala Ebtekar’s Coelestis (after Hafez) repurposes pages of the 14th-century manuscript written by the Iranian poet Hafez into a Persian celestial atlas. Photographer Catherine Wagner’s trans/literate series investigates braille books as they fade from use in favor of digital audio books. Discarded books become Scot Velardo’s canvas as he imagines new covers for old texts. Adam Donnelly transforms books into pinhole cameras, which he uses to create photographs that reveal ghostly traces of the words printed on pages from within the camera. Tony May’s installation, Variable Book Construction (Bookmobile) Maquette, plays with transforming spaces between books and their surroundings.

Bibliophilia is presented in collaboration with the Fine Arts Gallery of San Francisco State University, whose concurrent exhibition, The Illuminated Library, features works by artists including Clare Rojas, Jason Jägel, Nina K
atchadourian, and Tauba Auerbach. The Illuminated Library is open between September 21 and October 17, 2013.


Sky Is Falling: Paintings by Julie Heffernan

Exhibition Dates: June 22—September 1, 2013

Self-Portrait Moving Out, 2010, Oil on canvas, 54 x 78 inches, Courtesy of the artist and Catharine Clark Gallery

Self-Portrait Moving Out, 2010, Oil on canvas, 54 x 78 inches, Courtesy of the artist and Catharine Clark Gallery

“What we imagine we can manifest”—Julie Heffernan
Julie Heffernan draws from a rich art historical tradition of still life, landscapes, and portraiture to create her lush canvases. With traditional techniques she creates very topical representations that address climate change, consumption, and globalization. This exhibition will feature a wide range of paintings produced within the past ten years and is accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by Rebecca Solnit.

Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Julie Heffernan now lives and works in New York. Her work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and is included in numerous national and international collections, including the Columbia Museum of Art in South Carolina and the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond. A traveling retrospective of her work was organized by the University Art Museum, University of Albany in 2006.


Community Heirloom Project by Shenny Cruces

Exhibition Dates: June 22September 1, 2013

Shenny Cruces in her studio

Shenny in Studio


For the past several months, Bay Area artist Shenny Cruces has been collecting once-loved, meaningful objects and incorporating them into an art installation. In her artwork, Cruces takes found objects and casts them, recreating porcelain assemblage sculptures and installations that explore the meaning of objects in our lives. Her installation at the Art Center showcases a wide range of objects transformed into art!

 Shenny Phillips Cruces received a BA in Ceramics from Illinois State University in 2008 and a Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics from San Francisco State University in 2011. Her work has appeared in juried shows throughout California and the United States, including NCECA National Juried Student Exhibition, Ink and Clay 35, Visions in Clay 2011, California Clay Competition, 2013 NCECA Biennial, among others. She is currently the Ceramics Manager for the Richmond Art Center.


Cultural Kaleidoscope

Exhibition Dates: April 28May 26, 2013

Tiny houses built by youth

Youth Art

Exhibition Dates: April 28May 19, 2013

This beloved annual showcase of children's artwork returns to the Palo Alto Art Center this spring! Youth Art celebrates the creativity in the Palo Alto Unified School District, featuring artwork in a wide range of media, from students grades K-12.

Painting by youth artist


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