Does "art jewelry" mean bright pendants and creative earrings? Not necessarily. Art jeweler Bruce Metcalf, also an essayist, curator and critic of contemporary art, pushes every boundary with his unique sensibilities.
Billed as the first major exhibition of his work, a new show at the Palo Alto Art Center called "The Miniature Worlds of Bruce Metcalf" illustrates Metcalf's explorations of moral and political issues in today's society. Figures are big-headed and cartoon-like: An artist paints a giant eye; giant worms invade a town; a man has a meltdown while trying to nourish the needy.
Overall, 70 pieces from the 1970s to 2001 will be up from Sept. 28 through Dec. 21 at the art center at 1313 Newell Road in Palo Alto. The show is paired with a look at landscapes by photographer Richard Misrach. These photos can be sublime, sweeping or desolate; for instance, one look at parched earth covered with skeletal fish depicts man's impact on nature.
The exhibition includes works from Misrach's large-scale "Desert Cantos" series, as well as photos from other segments such as "The Flood" and "The Fires."
The art center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays, and 7 to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Go to http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/artcenter or call 650-329-2366.
Painting a landscape is one vivid way of connecting with it, but artist Linda Tapscott travels a different path.
In "CANDID," her latest body of work, her artistic vision of nature is created on wood panels that she cuts into to introduce a sculptural element. Eschewing paintbrushes most of the time, she prefers to paint onto and into the panels with her fingers and rags. To create more texture, she adds found objects from nature such as leaves, together with paper and cloth.
"Nature handles change in such a beautiful and graceful way. In my artwork I show how clarity and chaos both can be beautiful," Tapscott said in an artist's statement.
Works from "CANDID" are going on exhibit upstairs at the Pacific Art League at 668 Ramona St. in Palo Alto from Oct. 2 through Oct. 30, with a reception planned for Friday, Oct. 3, from 6 to 9 p.m. Tapscott frequently teaches at the art league and recently led a workshop on digital at the Palo Alto Art Center.
The Pacific Art League is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 to 4. Go to http://www.ltapscott.com or http://www.pacificartleague.org , or call the art league at 650-321-3891.
Palo Alto Black & White Ball.
Dead men don't wear plaid, according to the 1982 Steve Martin movie of that name. But next weekend, lots of Palo Altans will.
The Palo Alto Black & White Ball dances into town next Saturday, Oct. 4, for the 18th year. The event is about schmoozing, dancing and fund-raising, and this year it's also all about the tartans — the theme is "Plaid to be Here!"
Live music will include performances by The Bayonics, which mixes hip-hop, Latin, funk and reggae sounds. Also on the bill are performances by the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers, a strolling bagpiper and West Bay Opera singers. Food, champagne, raffles and a silent auction are also part of the night.
Tickets are $135 each, with the event raising money for the Palo Alto Recreation Foundation and Palo Alto Partners In Education. Throughout its history, the ball has raised nearly $1 million for city and school programs, organizers said.
The ball is from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Lucie Stern Community Center at 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. Go to http://www.paloaltoblackandwhiteball.org or call 650-266-8256.
Theater director, playwright and artist Robert Wilson is the embodiment of avant-garde. His experimental-theater performances incorporate movement, lighting, music and text, and when he takes the stage at Stanford University next week he'll also create drawings during the performance.
The multi-faceted event begins with a master class — geared toward Stanford drama students but open to the public — in Pigott Theatre at Memorial Auditorium at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 1.
Then comes the 7 p.m. main performance, called "1. Have you been here before? 2. No this is the first time." Held in Kresge Auditorium, the event will also include Wilson speaking about his creative process and referencing some of his previous stage works, such as "Deafman Glance," "A Letter for Queen Victoria" and "Einstein on the Beach" (which he created with composer Philip Glass).
All the events are free. For more information, go to http://shc.stanford.edu or http://www.robertwilson.com , or call 650-725-1219.
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