Current Exhibitions

Metaphysical Abstraction: Contemporary Approaches to Spiritual Content

August 1 through August 30

This exhibition features work by ten artists living in the Southwestern United States and in Northern California: Co-curators and painters Jamie Brunson (Lamy, NM) and Michelle Mansour (Oakland, CA); painter Pegan Brooke (Bolinas, CA); sculptor Freddy Chandra (Oakland, CA); painter David Ivan Clark (Douglas, AZ); collage artist David King (Monte Rio, CA); painter Keira Kotler (Ross, CA); painter Tracy Rocca (Albuquerque, NM); painter Jenn Shifflet (El Cerrito, CA) and draughtsman Alex Zecca (San Francisco, CA).

Working in paint, colored pencil, hand-colored cast urethane and paper collage, respectively, these ten abstract artists use the physical qualities of their materials—including luminous color, delicate surface effects and refined composition—to evoke a sense of the ineffable. By focusing on meticulous process and the tactile and sensate qualities of their media, they create sensory and visual experiences of expansiveness and mystery through their art that transcend the physical materials from which the work was made.

Although abstract, their work obliquely references the space, atmosphere and light associated with landscape; meditative states; or microcosmic and macrocosmic structures found in biology.

Collectively, their work is characterized by pristine surfaces that suggest deep, atmospheric space or emanate the quality of internal light or luminosity. The artists achieve their ethereal, often sublime surface effects through processes that require repetition or layering, uniting material and metaphysical concerns. The resulting abstract work invites contemplative, even transcendental, experiences in the viewer.

Barbara Milman: Sea Change

August 1 through August 30

“Sea Change” is Barbara Milman’s response to climate change, expressed in her prints and artist’s books. The books and prints complement each other – in fact create a kind of conversation in text, form, image and scale.  They share images and techniques as well as an ironic sense of humor about a serious subject.

The artist’s books are intimate in scale, combining text and images.  They invite a viewer to enter into a conversation with the artist. The prints, much larger than the books, provide a more purely visual approach to the subject.Unlike the books, they catch your eye immediately as you enter a gallery.

Both the books and the prints are reflections upon various aspects of climate change, particularly as they affect the oceans.  For example, ocean warming and acidification cause by increased carbon dioxide levels have proved toxic to many plant and animal species.  However there is at least one notable exception – jellyfish.  Jellyfish thrive in conditions that kill off other creatures.  They may turn out to be beautiful sea monsters of the future.  With this in mind, many of Milman’s most recent prints incorporate jellyfish imagery.

Empire Squared Strikes Back

July 29 through September 20

Empire Squared is a local art collective founded in 2002 by a group of art students at Humboldt State University. The group was formed because they wanted to bring avant-garde/cutting age art to Humboldt County. The collective has been showing art consistently since 2002. This exhibit will focus on the diverse styles from the collective.

Tony Natsoulas: Buggin'
Rotunda Gallery, July 10 through September 6

The humor and irreverence of Natsoulas's art should come as no surprise, considering the inspired lunacy of his mentors. A descendant of Pop and California Funk, Natsoulas's work goes beyond both. Embracing what may be best termed "camp"-that which is outrageous in its artificiality, affected, and referencing the out-of-date in an amusing manner-he has manufactured a style distinctly his own.

Natsoulas received his bachelor's of arts degree in 1982 at the University of California, Davis, and his master's of fine arts in 1985 from the same institution. He studied with many celebrated names in California painting and sculpture-Robert Brady, Roy DeForest,
Wayne Thiebaud-and has also been an informal student of artists David Gilhooly and Clayton Bailey, who have both greatly influenced him. His most significant teacher was the sculptor/ceramist Robert Arneson, who Natsoulas credits with changing his life by giving him the incentive to pursue art as a career.


MGMA Museum Art School

View artwork created in the 2014-15 sessions of the Humboldt Arts Council’s Museum Art School.

Humboldt Arts Council Permanent Collection Gallery

View changing selections from the HAC Permanent Collection including works by Morris Graves, Romano Gabriel, Melvin Schuler, Bruno Groth and Glenn Berry.