Three Art Professors Showing in Sacramento

David Hollowell

Department of Art and Art History professor Tom Bills and professors emeriti David Hollowell and Roland Petersen all have exhibitions opening in Sacramento on May 14.

Bills and Hollowell, showing at Artspace1616, first crossed paths when both were graduate students at Yale University during the 1970s. Hollowell began teaching at UC Davis in 1984 and retired in 2003. Bills came to UC Davis in 2001.

Hollowell creates large, illusionistic pastel paintings that play with scale, contain art history references and examine the nature of experiencing art.

“In all of my work, I constantly think and re-examine my ideas about the nature of painting and the kind of space I can develop on the flat picture plane,” Hollowell has said. “It is my intention to develop the form in such a way that it becomes invisible to all but the educated artist (or to those who spend extended time with the images). As with all art, time invested in looking at and analyzing the work will enable the viewer to develop a deeper understanding of the layers of meaning.” 

Rustic materials in Bills' art

tom bills
Tom Bills

Bills uses steel, concrete and other materials in his sculptures. Traces of rust, welding and fire are all elements of the work. Prior to coming to California, Bills spent two decades as an assistant to sculptor Richard Serra.

“My approach has always been to try and shift the energy of ‘Being’ from the self to the work,” Bills has said. “I want the work to stand unchallenged because its own character is final. When there is nothing to give but itself as fact, and there is no expectation that the viewer has to bring forth an understanding of anything, the piece is successful.”

An opening reception for the exhibition will be held Saturday, May 14, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. The show runs through July 2 and can be seen Thursdays through Saturdays from noon to 6 and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Artspace1616 is at 1616 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento. Call 916-849-1127 for more information. 

Long-running series inspired by Picnic Day

“Roland Petersen: The Artist at 90” is made up of about 20 paintings, most done during the past 10 years with many from the past three years. The exhibition opens with a reception on May 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. and runs to June 2 at the Elliott Fouts Gallery. 

Born in Denmark, Petersen grew up in San Francisco and studied art at UC Berkeley. He began teaching at UC Davis in 1956 and retired in 1992. During the 1960s, he embarked on his acclaimed “Picnic” series of paintings and prints of figures in landscape, geometric compositions rendered in saturated colors.

The whole thing started with the Picnic Day celebrations that are held each year at (UC) Davis,” Petersen said in a recent interview. “That sort of set off the theme — figures in a landscape — and it also gave me the opportunity to work with still life. I was trying to relate the landscape to the still life and the still life to the figures so that all three of those might work together in a certain type of relationship.”

The paintings in the upcoming exhibition are a continuation of this approach.

The Elliott Fouts Gallery is at 1831 P St., Sacramento. Call 916-736-1429 for more information.

— Jeffrey Day, content strategist in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science