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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Gualala Arts Lecture Series presents:
Hardy Lecture on the Visual Arts
Afterglow: Rethinking California Light and Space Art

with Melissa Feldman
Thursday, May 3, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
Admission is $5

In conjunction with the 2012 May Show, the distinguished Show juror Melissa E. Feldman, a writer and correspondent for Art in America, will deliver the Hardy Lecture on the Visual Arts, entitled Afterglow: Rethinking California Light and Space Art on Thursday, May 3, 7:00 p.m. at the Gualala Arts Center.

Light and space art, California's brand of minimalism, developed in the late 1960s, is credited with radically and, for the first time, shifting the focus of meaning from the artist to the viewer. The ascetic installations of light and space art challenge everyday limits of experience with inquiries into perception, transparency and the limits of visibility.

The lecture, Afterglow: Rethinking Light and Space Art, will place the movement in the history of modern art and focus on contemporary manifestations of its influence on the current generation of artists.

The Light Inside, by James Turrell
The Light Inside, by James Turrell
Variously attributed to the influence of California's vast expanses of light and space, the philosophical aspects of Zen Buddhism and the developments in aerospace technology, light and space art could not have originated anywhere but in California in Feldman's view.

Central figures of light and space art, including James Turrell, Robert Irwin, Maria Nordman and Larry Bell, created meditative, austerely sensual forms of conceptual art. Their influence can be seen today on artists using a wide range of materials who present their work as inquiries into perception and the nature of seeing, often deploying abstract optical effects. Artists include Gina Borg, Laurie Reid, Claude Collins-Stracensky and Thomas Akawie.

The works of these artists in various media - installation, painting, photography, video and sculpture - invite interactivity, functioning primarily as catalysts for the viewer's individual experience, according to Feldman. The artists spark this experience through the use of materials such as mirrors, fluorescent marker and paint mixed with crystals, to encourage slowed-down and sustained looking.

Melissa Feldman is an independent curator, art critic and writer for arts publications. She has taught in the Curatorial Practice MA Program, at California College of the Arts, in San Francisco.

Ms. Feldman earned a B.S. in Psychology, magna cum laude, from Tufts University. While at Tufts, she attended the Institute of European Studies at the Sorbonne, Paris, France (1981). She received a M.A. in Modern Art from the Institute of Fine Art, New York University.

The May Show 2012: Juror Melissa Feldman She has continually moved to higher positions of responsibility in the art world. As an Associate Director of the Bess Cutler Gallery, she introduced and sold work of emerging artists to museums, corporations and private collectors. She later was employed by the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York where she sold editions and multiples by major 20th century artists.

In 1988, she became Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), University of Pennsylvania, where she managed exhibition planning, development and implementation. She planned symposia and lectures, conducted gallery talks, and supervised presentations of exhibitions traveling to ICA. She also supervised curatorial support staff and interns and worked with the Director and Associate Director to establish annual exhibition programs and formulate institutional policy.

In 1995, she became an Independent Curator and Writer and moved to the British Isles for five years living in both Glasgow and London. While there she initiated and organized solo, historical, thematic, and commission-based exhibitions of international contemporary art. She recently stated, "Moving to the U.K. made a lasting impression on me in terms of expanding my esthetic horizons and grasping the workings of the international art world."

Over the last decade she has worked with institutional partners with funding from public and private sources for numerous national and international art projects. She is an essayist, lecturer, and writes extensively for Art in America, Frieze, Art Monthly, Third Text, and other publications. Her particular academic interests are conceptual art of the '70s including the first wave of feminist art and how the ideas developed by that artistic generation continue to resonate and unfold in today's art. Ms. Feldman currently resides in the Bay Area.

Ms. Feldman's lecture is the third Hardy Lecture on the Visual Arts, which takes place in conjunction with The May Show. It is supported in part by a donation given to Gualala Arts by Judy and Russ Hardy.

Previous years' jurors were Lucinda Barnes, Chief Curator of the Berkeley Art Museum, and Stephanie Hanor, Assistant Dean and Director of the Mills College Art Museum.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.