Now I See – Bakersfield Museum of Art

P1010544Portrait of Alex Couwenberg, 2012 by Bradford J. Salamon
courtesy of Winfield Gallery

I made it a point to find the Bakersfield Museum of Art on our last visit to the city. Turns out, it’s walking distance (just a couple of blocks!) from some of the antiques shops we’ve been going to for years. It’s not huge, but they had three very interesting exhibits on view. These are all from Face to Face: 30 Years of Portraiture, which is open till January 4, 2015.

After taking a class in still life oil painting this fall, I felt a real need to be around some oil paintings. I suspected that I would see them a bit differently.

For instance, in the portrait above: I realized after spending a little time with it, that the hands are the focal point rather than the face.  They are clearly defined, well lit, and their shadow on the back of the chair somehow gives them more importance. There’s also a lot of detail in the depiction of the tattoos. Whether it’s true or not, I get the impression that this man works with his hands. Maybe he’s even a tattoo artist.

I also love the way the paint doesn’t fully cover the canvas at the edges. We can see where the primed canvas has been left bare or the paint has been scraped away. That speaks of work to me, too, somehow.


 A Pensive Brooke by Pat Mahoney
courtesy of Winfield Gallery

I love the chunky confidence of the lines in this painting. So much is implied. When you really look at the colors, they don’t entirely make sense. The green outlining the subject’s bent arm…but it’s perfect!


Natasha’s Transition by Bradford J. Salamon
courtesy of  Winfield Gallery

I didn’t even realize at the time that this is by the same artist as the first once. I was taken not only with the candor of this girl’s pose, but the mixed use of paint.


Look at that floor!  Isn’t that brilliant!?  Who thinks of these things!?

P1010558Beefrog by Kaitlyn Smith (17)

Clever and very well executed, from Celebrating Art Education: Select Works from BMOA’s Education Programs. Teen Art Camp. Students were challenged to combine characteristics of two very different animals and scuplt the outcome in Sculpy. Part of the project included naming the creature and assigning it a specific habitat and diet. The students then practiced color mixing and painting techniques.” What a great project!

I also thoroughly enjoyed the Photography in Mexico exhbit, being a big fan of photography…as you might know.

And perhaps my favorite of the exhibitions in terms of the manner of curating was You’ve Been Selected: A Community Curated Exhibition of BMOA’s Permanent Collection. Honeslty, I would love to see what various communities around the country would come up with for similar exhibitions. I don’t know why I didn’t take any photos of this, because some of my favorites were in that room. It was the first exhibit I visited and I was quite taken with the concept.

Twelve community members were selected to choose a painting for the exhibit based on their answers to the question, “Why is art important in our community?” The lucky dozen came from all walks of life and all age groups. Terrific way to get people involved.

So if you’re even in Bakersfield with a little time on your hands, think about going to the Bakersfield Museum of Art. It only took me about an hour and a half to wander through the galleries reading most of the descriptive notes. It’s near a handful of antiques shops, close to good Basque food and diner food, and you really could use a break, couldn’t you?


One thought on “Now I See – Bakersfield Museum of Art

  1. joan says:

    I really enjoy your commentary on the things you show us. It makes me actually think! 🙂

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