By ELANA O’LOSKEY Staff Writer The Lamorinda Arts Council presents “Around the World at 80,” featuring the work of local artists who are octogenarians or older. The exhibit runs through July at Orinda Library Art Gallery. More than 30 artists age 80 to 99 are showing work in a variety of media and styles including ceramics, sculptures, paintings, collages, stitchery, digital images, woodcarvings, batik hand-painted goose eggs, linocuts and etchings. There is nothing tired or humdrum about this group. Join them at an artists’ reception on Sunday, July 17, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. when light refreshments will be served.
Anyone can be born with a gift, but it takes courage to develop it. This means life experiences over eight or more decades have enhanced the natural talents of these artists. Expect work that is transformative and manifests the core of each artist, many of whom are not only world travelers, but have exhibited all over the world as well. Many have also written books about their art, given interviews to prestigious publications and worked as sought-after art teachers.
Octogenarians (or older) showing work include: Kay Athos of Castro Valley, paintings; Norah Bain of Orinda, paintings; Lu Beury, paintings; Jean Calicura of Pleasant Hill, ceramics; Shirley Case, paintings; Barbara Crawford, ceramics; Lloyd Coyne, paintings; Pam Della paintings; Ed Diffenderfer of Pleasant Hill, paintings; Fran Dobin of Danville, paper collage; Barbara Falconer, watercolors; June Felter, paintings; Shirl Fink, metal plates; Art Gronner of Lafayette, carved wood; Loraine Hornbeck of Danville, watercolors; Joan Ibarolle of Walnut Creek, ceramic dolls; Nancy Jacobsen of Orinda, linocuts and etchings; Ruth Janger of Danville, paintings; Katarina Kivel of Danville, watercolors; Fred Lee of Orinda, digital images; Helen Ann Licht of Lafayette, paintings; Anna Marie Lininger of Lafayette, batik hand-painted tessellated goose eggs; Maher Salama of Danville, watercolors; Bess Meek of Danville, watercolors; Freddy Moran of Orinda, quilts; Peggy Moulton of Orinda, stitchery; Elizabeth Muller of Orinda, paintings; Virginia Munroe of Orinda, paintings and monotypes; Shirley Nootbaar, watercolors; Marge Rector of Sausalito, acrylic paintings; Ralph Smith of Orinda, sculpture; Josef Twirbutt of Danville, wood collage; Clark Vilas, sculpture and watercolors; and Rhoda Wasserman of Danville, graphite and oil on canvas board.
Council co-curators Maggie Boscoe and Natalie Wheeler, plus gallery committee members Bill Carmel and Lois Reynolds Mead put in months of effort to make this exhibit possible. Local businesses, such as Republic of Cake, The Fourth Bore, Piccolo Napoli, Mechanics Bank and Sanvitalia contributed to the artist reception. Virginia Munroe of Orinda, 99, had a joint exhibit some years ago with her late husband, Joseph Munroe, who was an oldtime National Geographic photographer back before digital. She is showing two works, Bouquet, a 36.5” x 38.5” acrylic monotype on paper, and Landing in Red, a 31” x 43” acrylic on canvas. “I paint to express this world in a visually creative way and it is a challenge I love,” says Munroe. Helen Ann Licht is 83 and has been painting for more than 50 years. She lives in Lafayette and her studio is in Oakland. Her painting, Jacob and the Angel, is part of the Tali, Virtual Midrash in Israel. She has shown work throughout the United States and Mexico. The book on her Biblical paintings is entitled The Many Colored Bible. Look for Eden Song, a 36” x 36” acrylic on canvas painting. She paints whimsical memories of her travels, the Bible and currently paints contemporary abstracts. See more of her work at www. helenannlicht.com.
Ralph Smith, 86, from Oakland is Orinda City Manager Janet Keeter’s father. He is showing two sculptures, Black Widow #2, 12” x 12” x 3.4” made of copper cable, stained glass, plastic and wood and Chrysalis, 16” x 14.75” x 8” made of metal and fiberglass. “I look at the material until it speaks to me. I then try to mold the new-found forms into history’s classical vocabulary,” says Smith. Anna Marie Lininger, also of Lafayette, is 87 and has taken an ancient Ukrainian craft and adapted it to her contemporary sensibilities. “I am not Ukrainian, nor do I claim to be. I use a wax dye process so I describe the end result as batik eggs,” she says.
Lininger is fascinated by tessellations; all her batik eggs are done in series of three. A tessellation is created when a shape is repeated over and over again, covering a plane without any gaps or overlaps. M.C. Escher famously made a study of tessellations and introduced the world to their unique qualities. Some of Lininger’s eggs have been displayed in the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, the museum in Pacific Grove and St. Mary’s College in Moraga. Look for Rhythm, an orange design with white ladders, and Tessellation Series 1, a black-and-white design. Each group is a series of three goose eggs with similar designs done with the wax dye process. The goose eggs are approximately 9” x 5” in diameter. As you view this outburst of creativity from our community, ask yourself Pablo Picasso’s question: “Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No.” Visit the gallery at 26 Orinda Way during normal library hours – Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. The library is closed on July 3 and 4. For information, call 925-254-2184 or visit http://ccclib.org.