Opening September 25, 2015



A Professor and Chair of the Roski School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California where she has taught since 1986, Margaret Lazzari is the Fresno Art Museum’s Council of 100 Distinguished Woman Artist of 2015. A classically trained painter who received her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, Lazzari’s works are based on landscape imagery but can also be seen as metaphors for moments in life involving transformation, upheaval, or energized states. The works included in this exhibition employ bold color juxtaposed with free flowing forms and expressive brushstrokes, ranging from monumental to intimate in size. The artist strives to invoke a sense of inner spiritual peace with her paintings. In the words of the artist,  “painting is another word for feeling.”

Curated by Michele Ellis Pracy and Kristina Hornback

Images:  Margaret Lazzari, Water Cycle, 2012 and Copper Landscape II, 2015, acrylic on canvas


In recognition of the legacy of local photographer Hanna S. Barsam, the Fresno Art Museum is proud to host a biennial photography exhibition with the generous support of the Hanna S. Barsam Endowment Fund.

Curated by Jay Belioli, former director of the gallery programs at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, the theme of the 2015 Hanna S. Barsam Photography Invitational is “urban California.” Mr. Belioli has selected eleven photographers from Southern California, Central California, and the San Francisco Bay Area to take part in this exhibition. Each selected photographer explores the urban experience and the human reaction to the man-made environment as captured through a lens. Just as Mr. Barsam was known for his innovative and often avant-garde approach to photography, this invitational showcases photographers that push the envelope with regards to technique and subject matter.

Images:  Connie Samara, Edge of Twilight 16, 2010-2013, archival pigment print; and Mark Swope, Los Angeles, CA, 2002, Archival pigment print, Courtesy of the Artist and Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, California.


We have gathered a variety of two and three-dimensional artworks in different styles, some inspired by books, some not; some surreal, some purely whimsical, from a selection of artists from Fresno and beyond, including Leonard Filgate, Karen Mortillaro, Bruno Pegoretti, Doug Hansen, Leslie Batty, and Leslie Hawes. All of the works depict places that are beyond reality and stir the imagination.Imaginary Worlds are places many of us visited as children through books, movies, and dreams. They are places where things seem real, yet are not quite connected to the real world. They are places where we can go to escape and dream and imagine. They are mysterious and magical places that entice us, whether child or adult, to enter their space.

The exhibition was organized to support a program called Art of the Word, developed for the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child initiative in collaboration with the Fresno County Office of Education and Fresno Unified School District where over 6,000 third graders have a museum experience and explore art and illustration through storytelling artworks, learn some of the basic elements of art, and have an art making experience.

Images: Bruno Pegoretti, The Mad Hatter's Tea Party, 2014, color pencil on paper; and Leonard Filgate, Tea Anyone?, (from the Rip Squeak® Series) 2015, acrylic on canvas


One of the reasons the Fresno Art Museum chose to present this suite of paintings by Ron Wigginton is because they were created under a very special circumstance--Ron was the recipient of a Morris Graves Foundation Artist-in-Residence Grant.

As such, Wigginton was allowed a finite period of time isolated from the “real” world in a beautiful open air and closed studio environment where he could devote time in solitude to his artistic endeavors in whatever manner he chose.  Without this sequestered opportunity, provided by the philanthropic artist-in-residence program of the foundation of the artist Morris Graves (1910–2001), the paintings and poetry exhibited here would not exist. 

The eight works in from The Lake were realized while Wigginton lived temporarily at Morris Graves’ studio, “The Lake”, as an artist-in-residence over a three-week period. Cocooned in Morris Graves’ highly personal physical environment, Ron Wigginton was inspired to make these particular paintings and to keep a journal of his accompanying thoughts. 

The Morris Graves Foundation was established by Robert and Desirée Yarber in Morris’ name as a means to honor his inspiration to countless artists during his lifetime.  Since its founding in 2002, the Foundation provides living artists an artistic respite while encouraging an aesthetic engagement with his beloved natural and built environment in Loleta, California near Eureka.

The exhibition from The Lake is the result of artistic introspection provided by the Morris Graves Foundation. In this instance, Morris Graves’ retreat served to support and enhance the creativity of Ron Wigginton by providing him uninterrupted time for work and reflection in a setting of intimate natural beauty.

The Morris Graves Foundation is one of a small but growing number of artist foundations that are becoming a powerful force in the world of cultural philanthropy.

Michele Ellis Pracy
Executive Director and Chief Curator
Fresno Art Museum

Images: Ron Wigginton, 

 Full and Empty Form, 2011, co-polymer dye, colored pencils and metlaics on 140 pound cold press Arches paper; and Bridge (Sambhogakaya), 2011, co-polymer dye and metalics on Persimmon paper.

General Exhibition Support:  Women's Auxiliary of the Fresno Art Museum, ADART

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