Dixie State art exhibit brings tiny California town to life

"Paul Inside the Clock" by John Nichols | Image courtesy of Dixie State University

ST. GEORGE – The Sears Art Museum Gallery at Dixie State University has unveiled a new summer ensemble exhibit, the “Santa Paula Portrait Project,” featuring the latest artistic adventures of Gail Pidduck and John Nichols.

"Fred" by Gail Pidduck | Image courtesy of Dixie State University
“Fred” by Gail Pidduck | Image courtesy of Dixie State University

The exhibit at the Dolores Dore Eccles Fine Arts Center is free and open to the public to view Monday through Friday through August 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A special artist reception, also free for all to attend, will be held July 19 from 7 to 9 p.m.

The “Santa Paula Portrait Project” illustrates both the extraordinary and the ordinary facets of everyday life in the small town of Santa Paula, Calif., which both Pidduck and Nichols call home. Based on a similar project in the small town of Maquoketa, Iowa, the exhibit encouraged both artists to open their hearts to their neighbors and even strangers on the streets of their community. Rather than exact likenesses, they set out to capture portraits of humanity, of people’s character and of the community in which they live.

“The goal is to reveal as much of myself, the artist, in the portrait as I reveal of the sitter,” Nichols said.

"Ben" by Anna Oakden | Image courtesy of Dixie State University
“Ben” by Anna Oakden | Image courtesy of Dixie State University

Also during the exhibit, Southern Utah artists Anna Oakden, Nathon Watkyns, McGarren Flack and Thad Tuin will lend their collective works to complement. Entitled “Beyond the Cover,” these artists’ collaboration with the works of Pidduck and Nichols will help tell the stories and reveal the faces of local communities through film and canvas.

The Eccles Fine Arts Center will also host local ceramic artist Brady Richardson’s mugs, glasses, goblets, bowls and other functional pieces and the work of the late Debbie Lewis Martin, which features the passion she experienced through her life that she captured in art.

For more information on the all the DSU summer exhibits, contactSears Art Museum Gallery Curator Kathy Cieslewicz at 435-652-7909 or at [email protected].

Submitted by: Dixie State University

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

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