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Celebrate art, spring, wine with Lodi Art Center show

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Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014 8:26 am

Sunny skies, beautiful surroundings, a glass of wine in hand and hundreds of stunning pieces of art. This will be the scene at the Spring Art Show, hosted by the Lodi Community Art Center. The show, held at Woodbridge Winery in Acampo, has been running for 54 years.

“It’s the largest free juried art show in Northern California,” Rich Allen, president of the LCAC, said. “For Lodi to produce something like this is a pretty big deal.”

The show is open to all categories of art, from watercolors and photographs to sculptures and drawings. More than 300 pieces were submitted. They are all for sale during the show.

Artists from around the state and elsewhere in the United States are competing for $5,000 in cash prizes. Those awards will be presented on Friday at the Preview Benefit Gala.

Three Lodi artists found themselves on the winner’s list this year. Annie Hughes earned an Honorable Mention in Watercolor for “Sweater in the Cabinet.” Jeri Killian earned first place in Photography for “Sam and Samantha-Yosemite.” Nina Thompson placed third in Drawings and Graphics, for “Last Light on Fields.”

Best in show goes to Arena Shawn, of San Francisco, for her piece “Simple Grace” in the Drawings and Graphics category.

Award-winning artists will leave their work with the Lodi Community Art Center to display in the Pine Street gallery through May.

The show is judged by D. Neath, Erick Dahlin and Ruth Santee. Neath owns Archival Framing in Sacramento and is the art curator for KVIE. Dahlin, of Sacramento, has shown work throughout California since 1964. Santee is an Oakland-based artist and the director of Transmission Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in the heart of Oakland’s art scene that showcases regional and local artists.

In addition to the dozens of artists who submitted entries, the show will highlight Merle Axelrad’s work in fabric collages. Her work is in many corporate and private collections, including the California Environmental Protection Agency and the University of California at Davis Medical Center. Her work is also on display in many galleries and museums across the country, including the Dennos Art Museum in Michigan and the California State Museum.

Axelrad creates landscapes from tiny pieces of fabric numbering into the thousands. The fragments of color and texture are layered together, then pinned and sewn. Axelrad says her landscapes are recognizable as real places, but she approaches the different elements as abstract forms. Rocks, hills and branches are the supporting actors to light and movement.

“The landscape is separated into river and shore. Caught between these two worlds, one above the water and one below, is the world of reflections,” Axelrad said. “Sometimes the light is just right and we can see all three worlds at once. That is the moment I capture in my work.”

Contact Sara Jane Pohlman at



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