Local art works to be shown in international expo | TheUnion.com

Local art works to be shown in international expo

Kristofer B. WakefieldJulie Baker (left), and Susan Mann, director of Julie Baker Fine Arts gallery in Grass Valley, on Friday show off an oil painting by Erin Noel.
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Masterworks by icons Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Weston next to works by Nevada County artists Menlo Macfarlane, Erin Noel and Kurt Steger?

That will be the case during the fifth annual San Francisco International Art Exposition at Fort Mason in San Francisco from Jan. 17 to Jan. 20.

The three area artists are represented by Grass Valley’s Julie Baker Fine Arts gallery, one of 100 contemporary art galleries from the United States, Korea, Hong Kong, Russia, England, Germany, Venezuela and Mexico featured in the exposition. Works of more than 2,000 artists in all media will be displayed.

About 250 galleries applied to be in this year’s exposition; applicants were selected by a committee of gallery owners.

“We’re always looking for young dealers. Julie’s relatively new. She had some good recommendations from other galleries,” said Thomas Hart of Thomas Blackman Associates, the exposition’s producer. “Her program fit into the overall sense of where we want the show to be going.”

Between 16,000 to 17,000 viewers attended last year’s exposition, said Hart, who expects at least that many viewers this year. Museum groups from Memphis, New Orleans and other parts of the country will attend the exposition.

“Visitors are from all over the world, gallery owners, museum people and regular families with the baby strollers,” Hart said.

Julie Baker, owner of the Grass Valley gallery, considers being selected to the exposition an honor.

“What’s so exciting for us we’re in business for one year, we were accepted into a prestigious, juried show. It’s great for the local artists, they’re be among famous artists,” said Baker, who will display 60 works by 12 artists, including the three Nevada County artists (Macfarlane, Noel and Steger).

“It’s important for the gallery to give our artists exposure beyond the local market,” Baker added. “San Francisco is our back yard, it’s a great way to cultivate new customers.”

Local artists definitely hold their own with national artists, Baker said, citing “The Affordable Art Show” in New York City as a good example. In October, Baker entered works there by Noel and Steger.

“Neither had shown their work outside of California before. Five people were on the waiting list for one of Kurt’s sculptures. Two of Erin’s three paintings sold,” Baker said. “It’s so gratifying to take artists who are regional and give them national exposure and see the response be so terrific. It’s really validating for us as a gallery, for me as a curator and for the artist.”

Noel is a part-time environmental lawyer and full-time artist whose works are connected to the local landscape.

“These art shows are a way to bring some of my sense of the local landscape elsewhere,” pointed out Noel, who likes to express both the area landscape’s beauty and its fragmentation.

Taking art to shows outside Nevada County is all part of Baker’s business plan conceived 18 months ago. For the gallery to be successful, Baker first wanted to establish a local audience through ongoing openings and exhibits, and then develop a national presence at art shows.

She’s on track with her expectations.

“Considering the fact that we opened after Sept. 11 in November 2001 and did something that’s never been done in Grass Valley (a contemporary fine art gallery), we’ve done tremendously well,” Baker said.

Art moves at her gallery.

“On average, the works that sell are between $2,000 to $3,000. On the average, we sell between 10 and 15 pieces a month,” Baker said.

Baker and Susan Mann, the gallery’s director, will be at the San Francisco exposition all four days.

“We’d love local residents to visit us at the booth and help us spread the word about Grass Valley. One of the questions – which has become a running joke when we’re at art fairs – is ‘where’s Grass Valley?’ We should have brochures made about Grass Valley,” Baker laughed.

To preview works that the Julie Baker Fine Art gallery will display at the fifth annual San Francisco International Art Exposition in San Francisco, check out Julie Baker Fine Art gallery at 120 N. Auburn St., Suite 100, Grass Valley. Viewing hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays or other hours by calling 273 0910. The second annual 3Baker1s Dozen: 13 works by 13 artists² is ongoing through Jan. 25.

General admission tickets to the San Francisco exposition are $12 each per day. Tickets are on-line at http://www.sfiae.com or http://www.etix.com and at the door.

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