Art all around us for First Friday

Sep. 2—It seems laughable to describe 90-degree days as a relief, but we’re beating the heat however we can as summer wanes. That includes some cool activities like First Friday, which will feature art throughout downtown.

Along with a number of restaurants and businesses, the Eastchester section of downtown is home to Moderngigi Gallery, operated by artist Johnny Ramos.

Ramos features his own work, which features recent pop art pieces and apparel, as well as highlighting other artists and creative vendors in the space on 18th Street.

This month, painter Sonia Peterson is among those who will have work on display.

Peterson, who works under the name Sisu Art, said she focuses on abstracts, preferring to work in acrylics due to their faster dry time over oils.

Her artwork is made for people to enjoy, Peterson said, recalling a piece she made for her friend’s grandfather-in-law.

“It was of his ranch,” she wrote in an email. “When he received the painting, he was the happiest man alive (I’m not exaggerating either).”

She said she enjoys seeing people smile as a result of her work and likes listening to recollections that the pieces inspire. She said a woman whose favorite cat had died purchased a piece from Peterson’s cat series because it “captured the essence of her fur baby.”

“That brought me joy. The world is a nasty place, but it can be good too and I hope my paintings can help, even if it’s just for a moment, to warm someone’s heart.”

Peterson plans to feature some 20-by-20-inch pieces as well as larger works on Friday.

For each sale of her art, Peterson donates a portion to marine conservation, a cause about which she is passionate.

“I’m originally from Colorado so when I moved here and went to the beach for the first time, I fell in love with the ocean,” she wrote. “I feel there is so much we can learn from the ocean and it’s something that needs to be saved. The creatures that live in those waters need to be protected just as much as dogs, cats and horses do (along with other animals).”

Visit artpal.com/sisuart777 to view more of Peterson’s work.

Other vendors include April Ferdinand of Creeping Dawn Jewelry and Gabriela Alexander and Isabelle Herndon of Vogue-ish, a secondhand apparel and accessories pop-up.

Musician Crimson Skye will also perform at the gallery, 900 18th St., which will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday.

Head to facebook.com/moderngigigallery for more information on the gallery.

BAKERSFIELD ART ASSOCIATION

Keeping in theme with her current exhibit — “The Joy of Travel” — photographer Marsha Black’s work moves this month from the Bakersfield Art Association Art Center a block north to Dagny’s Coffee Co.

The graduate of the New York Institute of Photography has spent years combining two passions — travel and photography — collecting images from her adventures in Europe, Australia, Cuba and across the U.S.

Many of the photos in the current collection are of France, including Paris, taken during a trip with fellow BAA member Charlotte White, who painted watercolors all day while Black took photos.

“The Joy of Travel” is on display at Dagny’s, 1600 20th St.

More of Black’s photography is viewable on her website visualtravels.com.

As Black’s work moves to Dagny’s, the artist who last displayed at the coffeehouse heads to the BAA Art Center with a new collection.

Laura Lee Best’s “Scenes from Bakersfield” features paintings inspired by the artist’s childhood growing up on the east side of town.

According to the BAA newsletter, the works reflect Best’s “perspective of Bakersfield’s diverse culture as well as the latest community movement of supporting downtown and Kern County’s local businesses through events such as farmers markets and pop-up vendor shows.”

“Scenes from Bakersfield” will remain on display through September at the BAA Art Center, 1607 19th St., which is open until 4 p.m. Friday. Current hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

For more of Best’s work, visit lauraleestudio.com or her social media pages @LauraLeeArtStudio where she can be contacted directly.

Black’s and Best’s art will also be on display on the Bakersfield Art Association’s website bakersfieldartassociation.org, Facebook and Instagram pages.

BAKERSFIELD MUSEUM OF ART

As the museum prepares to wrap up its current exhibition to prepare for its fall collection, visitors still have time to view the two remaining shows on display.

Closing Saturday, “Color + Figure: Paintings by Linda Christensen” features a variety of large scale works by the Bay Area artist.

Christensen’s work has been featured in a number of group shows at BMoA but this was her first museum solo exhibition.

Her dynamic pieces depict women in domestic and contemplative scenes.

“She is truly a colorist but more than that she has a desire to capture humanity and in a very honest way,” curator Rachel Magnus said of her work in February.

Also currently on display is “Uncommon Perspective: Paintings by Art Sherwyn,” which will close Sept. 11.

The artist and former art educator presented a fresh perspective on home, colorfully portraying downtown scenes as well as the Kern River and orchards outside of town.

Sherwyn, in his artist statement, wrote that he worked in vivid colors to match the spirit of a growing city full of vitality.

“Architecture by nature possesses a diverse interplay of lines, shapes, patterns, and spaces,” he wrote. “I intended to use those elements to add interest and intrigue to my story by manipulating them into small abstract compositions and integrating them into the arrangement of the whole.”

Although the museum’s wonderful exhibit celebrating the legacy of the Bakersfield Sound has closed, guests can still take home a piece of it.

The commemorative bandana ($12), inspired by the work of American tailor Nudie Cohn, is still for sale in the gift shop (and at bmoa.org/shop).

Local cartoonist Erwin Ledford designed the piece based on a white suit by Cohn, featuring bright butterflies, which was on display at the museum earlier this year.

Cohn was known for creating colorful performance wear, dressing musicians and celebrities such as Buck Owens, Porter Wagoner, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Gram Parsons, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

White Wolf Wellness Foundation will also host a sound bath in the museum’s Tejon Sculpture Garden starting at 6 p.m. Attendees can relax while experiencing a bath of intentional sound waves that, like waves through water, travel into the many layers of the physical and emotional self to massage and stimulate the body and mind.

The museum, 1930 R St., will be open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Admission is free.

For more information, visit bmoa.org.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

Robert G. Mull

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