2015 Exhibits

Creative Ecology: Linda Gass - What We Discovered at Cooley Landing

Exhibition Dates: November 14, 2015&mdashJanuary 22, 2016

On the Edge, Copyright 2008 © Linda Gass.

For the exhibition, Gass has created intimately-scaled stitched paintings and substantial land-art installations that explore the water and landscapes, exploring the themes of what lives in the water and sea level rise. She strives to create beautiful artwork with a message—work that engages the viewer and promotes awareness and action around the conservation of land and water. Two community art projects, led by Gass, will also be shown. The first consists of photographs of a community-built land art installation marking the historic shoreline and filling of wetlands. The second is a quilt comprised of 66 colorful silk paintings created by community members and reflecting the natural environment of Cooley Landing.

"Science, nature and the community all came together to inform and inspire the artwork in the exhibition," says Gass. "I was touched by how people responded to what they saw, the drawings they made in their field notebooks, and the conversations I had with them. Much of the artwork I'm showing is a true collaboration with the community."

About Creative Ecology
Her effort is part of Creative Ecology: Exploring Our Environment with Art, Science, and the Community, an innovative program promoting appreciation of the natural world through scientific inquiry and the creative process. The effort includes artists, educators and the larger community, and is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and made possible through a partnership between the Palo Alto Art Center and the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo.

Front Yard/Backstreet

Exhibition Dates: September 19—December 13, 2015

Front Yard Backstreet September 19-December 13, 2015

Robin Lasser and Adrienne Pao, Picnic Dress Tent, 2005, chromogenic photograph,40 x 48 in.; courtesy of the artists

“Places matter. Their rules, their scale, their design include or exclude civil society, pedestrianism, equality, diversity (economic and otherwise), understanding of where water comes from and garbage goes, consumption or conservation. They map our lives.“
—Rebecca Solnit

Front Yard/Backstreet explores the connections between people and their communities. These artists encourage us to see our communities in new ways, by showcasing unique and unexpected features of our landscapes, neighborhoods, blocks and parks, and the businesses and people who inhabit them. Featuring works in a wide range of media, Front Yard/Backstreet explores themes of mapping, landscape, and population, ultimately encouraging us to reconsider our relationships to the places in which we live work, and play.


Maps are vital tools for exploration, documentation, and memory. They help us to make sense of our communities and serve as nostalgic reminders of the places we have lived, visited, and dreamed about. Artists in Front Yard/Backstreet find inspiration in the form of maps to create artworks that explore our relationship to place. Val Britton refers to her complex mixed-media works as “emotional landscapes” that suggest imagined roadways, land masses, and oceans. Craig Dorety in collaboration with Jim Campbell creates an illusion of a three-dimensional urban landscape in a two-dimensional format in Inverted Pixel Array—Street Scene NYC. In her laser-cut works, installations, and FRICKbits app, Laurie Frick tracks and visualizes personal data—including her walking and sleep patterns. Matt Gonzalez assembles street-grid collages from found materials to reflect his urban landscapes. Kate Pocrass encourages us to see the everyday in a new light in her This is Happiness: Palo Alto map, which is available for free to all. Lordy Rodriguez uses the language of cartography to explore the cultural and historic identities of our community.

“Maps encourage boldness…They make anything seem possible.” ;— Mark Jenkins


Artists in Front Yard/Backstreet bring us closer to both natural and man-made elements in our landscape, encouraging us to see parts of our terrain that we may have overlooked. Deeply concerned with the environmental fragility of our coasts and marshes, Tanja Geis presents a site-specific installation created from mud collected from the nearby Baylands. Amanda Marchand’s compelling photographs offer us a rarely-seen view of gardens at night. Tracey Snelling plays with scale in her miniature dwellings, incorporating video to suggest alternate narratives. Blending traditional photographic processes with satellite imagery culled from Google maps, Greg Stimac addresses the power of landscape in shaping community identity.


Ultimately, people build our communities and infuse them with life. Artists in Front Yard/Backstreet highlight populations in our community that we may not see, or have chosen not to notice. They also provide novel perspectives on the people we see every day. Robin Lasser and Adrienne Pao create dress tents that humorously blend performance, sculpture and photography, challenging representations of women by exploring what lies underneath the façade (or under the dress). Whitney Lynn’s video documents famous San Francisco street performer Greg Jacobs (a.k.a. Bushman) as he plays with his own visibility. In meticulously detailed pencil drawings, Joel Daniel Phillips spotlights residents of the Buena Vista Mobile Home community, work produced during a residency at the Palo Alto Art Center. Arne Svenson employs unique compositional techniques to elevate the manual laborers who are his subjects.

Home Grown: Walter Robinson

Exhibition Dates: June 20—August 30, 2015

Walter Robinson, Fruits de Mer, 2013, wood, polychrome, and brass, 104 x 75 x 24 inches, courtesy of Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco

Home Grown: Walter Robinson is a mid-career solo exhibition of paintings and sculptures created by the native Palo Alto artist during the past ten years, offering a glimpse at works from public and private collections from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Robinson is an expert craftsman, finishing his works in high-gloss colors that evoke the polish found in advertising. A provocateur, he plays with scale and appropriates familiar imagery and forms such as corporate logos, street signs, cartoon characters, gas pumps, and animal cookies, presenting a critique of contemporary culture and politics. Robinson's work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the San Jose Museum of Art and Montalvo Arts Center, and he has received critical attention from a number of publications including Artforum, ArtReview, Vanity Fair, and The San Francisco Chronicle. Robinson lives in Lamy, New Mexico and has exhibited with Catharine Clark Gallery since 1993.

Friday Night at the Art Center: Opening Celebration for Home Grown: Walter Robinson

Exhibition Date: Friday, June 19, 2015, 7-10 p.m.

Celebrate the opening of Home Grown: Walter Robinson with the artist, see his paintings and sculptures created spanning a decade, and participate in a range of hands-on art-making activities in the Adult Studios. Enjoy delicious food truck fair and a specialty cocktail from the cash bar at another fun-filled Friday Night at the Art Center!


Exhibition Dates: May 2—May 31, 2015*

Left: Nate Johnson, Nixon Elementary School, Kindergarten, Untitled, 2015, paint and marker on papier-mâché over foil and recycled bottle | Right: Alice Wang, Palo Alto High School, Grade 12, Untitled, 2015, mixed media on paper

*The Youth Art exhibition closes May 24.


Join us and celebrate the artwork of children at the Palo Alto Art Center’s spring exhibitions!

Hear This!

—April 12, 2015

Hear This! January 17 - April 12, 2015

Kate Lee Short, The Oculus (detail), 2012, salvaged speakers, speaker wire, Motu audio interface, Mac Mini, amplifiers, wood, 192 x 168 in., courtesy of the artist; Photo: Phil Bond.

Hear This! explores the artistic potential of sound, inviting visitors to look, listen, and immerse themselves in the works of five contemporary artists working across disciplines and in a diverse range of media. Including sculptures, prints, tapestry, and video, this exhibition includes works investigating perception, the passage of time, and nostalgia. Encounter a range of visually compelling sonic works by artists such as Kate Lee Short (Oakland), who creates monumental sculptures composed of stacks of salvaged speakers. Make your own sounds on an amplified wire installation by Chris Duncan (Oakland). Listen to Julianne Swartz’s (New York) woven electrical wire tapestry. Watch and listen as Mark Malmberg’s (Petaluma) kinetic mobile responds to light, twitching, chirping, and clicking. Experience a video projection in which artist Christian Marclay (New York and London) repeatedly changes vinyl records, lifting and dropping the tone arm of a spinning turntable, searching for the word “love” in the song lyrics.

Members-Only Program

Exhibition Preview & Walkthrough with the Curator

Exhibition Date: Friday, January 16, 2015, 9-10 a.m.

Public Program

Opening Celebration

Date: Friday, January 23, 2015 7-10 p.m.

Meet some of the exhibiting artists, experience a live sound performance by Chris Duncan with a film projection by Paul Clipson, treat yourself to food provided by Ada’s Café, or indulge in a cocktail!

Artists Talk

Date: Sunday, March 15, 2015, 2-3 p.m.

Join musician Danny Paul Grody, founding member of San Francisco bands Tarentel, The Drift, and Moholy-Nagy, and visiting French artist and musician Félicia Atkinson, as they explore the sonic potential of exhibiting artist Chris Duncan’s interactive installation.

Artists Panel

Date: Saturday, March 7, 2015, 2-3:30 p.m.

Join exhibiting Bay Area artists Chris Duncan, Mark Malmberg, and Kate Lee Short for a conversation and learn more about their artistic explorations of sound.

Oculus: Interpretations: Closing Celebration for Hear This!

Date: Sunday, April 12, 2015, Performances at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Join us at 1:30 p.m., and then again at 3:30 p.m., as we premier new compositions by 5 Bay Area artists presented in succession inside Kate Lee Short’s "The Oculus," a 12-channel, 275-speaker installation.

Participating Artists/Composers

Jorge Bachmann
Will Gluck
Laetitia Sonami
Jon Leidecker
Anja Ulfeldt

Since opening in January, thousands of residents and visitors have enjoyed the uniqueness of our "Hear This!" exhibition. Stop by the Art Center and experience the works of Chris Duncan, Mark Malmberg, Christian Marclay, Kate Lee Short, and Julianne Swartz one last time!

Lift/Heft: New Sculptures by Lauren DiCioccio and May Wilson

DiCioccio, Familiar, 2014, 18 x 8 x 12 in., mixed media, courtesy of the artist Right: May Wilson, In Wobbling, 2014, 204 x 48 x 48 in., mixed media, courtesy of the artist; Photo: Andria Lo

Collaborating for the first time, artists Lauren DiCioccio and May Wilson will employ a range of techniques—sewing, stapling, riveting, weaving, wrapping, and stuffing—transforming fabric into anthropomorphic sculptures. For lift/HEFT, the artists will collect soft, organic textiles such as cotton, wool, and linen, and hefty, industrial materials such as vinyl, nylon, and commercial felt, to create a new series of whimsical forms.

Members-Only Program

Exhibition Preview & Walkthrough with the Curator

Public Program

Opening Celebration

Date: Friday, January 23, 2015, 7-10 p.m.

Artists Talk

Date: Sunday, March 15, 2015, 2-3 p.m.

2019 Exhibits2018 Exhibits | 2017 Exhibits | 2016 Exhibits | 2015 Exhibits | 2014 Exhibits | 2013 Exhibits | 2012 Exhibits