March Artists & Colorful Work

This article was originally published in the Davis Enterprise in March, 2018.

Pence Gallery: March artists bring colorful work

By Natalie Nelson

At the Pence Gallery this March, we are hosting three new solo artists, each who plays with color in a distinctly different way. As we start to plan for our Garden Tour on May 6, color is a fitting subject to center on for the beginning of spring.

Joe Kabriel’s exhibit, “Sense of Time and Place,” is on display from March 2 to 25 in our Andresen Gallery. Kabriel’s landscapes, such as “California Dreaming in Yellow and Gold,” are first drafted in pencil on one of his travels through the Santa Monica Mountains, where he lives and works.

Like many Davis residents, he travels largely on a bike, and his scenic views merge a panoramic perspective with heightened color and texture.

Some of his drawings are printed on aluminum plates, which gives them an iridescent sheen — an appearance that he heightens through digital manipulation of color and pattern into a truly unique landscape.


As he writes, he hopes through his views to “rediscover the wonder of nature seen through a child’s eyes … and to ponder the meaning of life with fresh hope.” Like many landscape artists, Kabriel reflects on how capturing nature can be both a space to “explore the personal conversation between the inner and outer landscapes of the world around us.” Kabriel will be present for the public reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 9, at the Pence, so please feel free to stop by to see his amazing view of nature.

Much like Kabriel, Davis artist Hannah Klaus Hunter spent a lot of time in her childhood outdoors, “picking up leaves, studying their shapes and colors, their textures and veins, taking pleasure in small details.”

Hunter still loves to collect leaves, which she brings into the studio, to capture the shape, texture and linear qualities of various leaves onto paper. She uses a monoprint process to do this, rolling out a layer of acrylic paint on top of a gelatin-based plate, and then placing leaves on top. After the paper is placed on top, a brayer is used to press the paint onto it.

Some prints are layers of four to five individual print runs, and successful prints are assembled with other versions into an overall larger composition. Sometimes the artist uses natural dyes and pigments to create her prints, which gives her work a natural feel.

To learn her process, plan to attend her Botanical Print & Collage workshop, on Saturday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sign up now at The cost is $105 ($115 non-members) and includes all supplies. Attendees will also create a small accordion-style book with their prints. Hunter’s exhibit, titled “Paper + Leaf,” is on display through April 13, with an opening on Friday, March 9, from 6 to 9 p.m., sponsored by Far Western Anthropological Research Group.

Another related workshop this month is our Ecoprinting session, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 17. Book artist Dorothy Yuki has taught this workshop on using natural dyes and metals to make prints on cloth and other materials for many Bay Area arts organizations, and after Hunter participated in it, we heard so many great compliments that we had to bring it to Davis. The cost is $165 ($175 nonmembers), and artists can register online through

Last but not least, San Francisco artist Nicole Mueller unveils a new installation as part of her “Light Matter” exhibit, on view through April 13. Mueller’s works are both exuberant and complex, with shifting figure-ground relationships, vibrant color and pockets of deep space, creating pathways that weave in and out of her compositions.

Her large works are painted, cut, collaged, arranged and rearranged, resulting in works that exist between chaos and cohesion.

Mueller is the winner of the Glickman McClure Artist Award for 2018. Given to an emerging artist who produces a new body of work for the Pence, the award is donated by Mark M. Glickman and Lanette M. McClure, and includes a generous stipend.

Mueller is primarily a painter and mixed-media artist, but she is stretching into three-dimensions with an installation of suspended colored Plexiglas shapes. This one piece will be installed in the Bill and Nancy Roe glass tower, visible from our D Street entrance. Not daunted by heights, the artist will be installing at the top of a 20-foot scissor lift soon, securing clusters of wires with the colorful forms on them, so that when light passes through, the hues merge and overlap in truly magical ways.

Mueller’s inspiration was a French chapel with stained glass designed by Henri Matisse, and her installation is sure to have a very spiritual presence. As with any piece that is dependent upon natural light, it will constantly be changing, due to the shifting light conditions.

Her Artist Talk, which describes much of her artistic process and the fabrication of this recent installation, is from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 24. While the event is free, we are asking visitors to RSVP online, at (search Pence Gallery). Mueller will also be present during our public reception on Friday, March 9, from 6 to 9 p.m., so stop by for a glass of wine and to meet the artist.

— Natalie Nelson is executive director and curator of the Pence Gallery; her column is published monthly.