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Carnegie exhibit highlights Valley roots
Center hosts gallery talk with artists
Claes2c golden twilight2c 2008. oil on canvas. 28 x 32. sold. fsg
The Carnegie Art Centers Exhibit Valley Grown features the works of three artists who all honed their skills while students at California State University, Stanislaus. The artists will be giving a gallery talk on Sunday. The exhibit includes Golden Twilight by John Karl Claes. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Carnegie Arts Center will host a gallery talk Sunday with three of the artists currently on exhibit in the “Valley Grown” installment.

The gallery talk is set for 2 p.m. Sunday at the Carnegie and will feature artists Jody Sears Barbuta, Alexander Cheves and John Karl Claes. The artists will share insights about their works and what serves as their inspirations. The gallery talk is included in the admission price.

The exhibit “Valley Grown” is focusing on artists who have had their creative start in Stanislaus County. All three of the artists that comprise the exhibit made their mark first while students at California State University, Stanislaus.

“Links between these three artists may not at first be apparent,” said Carnegie Arts Center Director Lisa McDermott in a news release. “Their unique talents are admirable and their works are highly personal. However, in much of their work each continues to explore visual and thematic elements that may be seen as part of their Central Valley experience – the agricultural landscape, an interest in our changing environment, a ‘small town’ or rural American perspective.”

Born in Redlands, Barbuta began her studies in biology and art in southern California before transferring to attend CSU Stanislaus. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in Fine Arts in 1994 and had works included in regional exhibitions (including the Carnegie Arts Center’s annual Spring Juried Art Show) as a student. She relocated to New York for graduate studies at the New York Academy of Fine Arts where she received her graduate degree in 1996. She spent time as a studio assistant to artist Jeff Koons in New York before spending a year in Carrara, Italy, working in the studio of sculptor Manuel Neri.  Since returning to California in 2000 she has taught courses at UC Berkeley, Idyllwild School of Art, Pacific Union College, and Folsom Lake College.  Babuta had two solo exhibitions in New York, and her work has been featured in several gallery exhibitions in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Sacramento and Davis, as well as five annual Yosemite Renaissance exhibitions since 2009. 

Growing up in Modesto, Turlock and Ceres, Cheves made the choice to attend CSU Stanislaus as an art major, graduating with a degree in Fine Arts in 1993. He attended graduate school at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, where he completed his degree in 1996. As a student, his work was included in juried and group exhibitions in Turlock, Modesto, and Philadelphia. As both a painter and a sculptor, Cheves has been featured in group shows throughout the Bay Area since 2001, as well as in London, New York, Miami, Philadelphia, and Portland, Maine.  His solo exhibition, “Farms, Barns and the Ranch House,” was on view at the Carnegie Arts Center in 2000, and was also shown at The Project Room Gallery in Philadelphia. Several solo exhibitions of his work have been seen at galleries in San Francisco and Oakland over the past 15 years. 

Claes was born and raised in Turlock, and began painting in high school. He went on to complete his degree in Fine Arts at CSU Stanislaus in 1993. He relocated to North Carolina to pursue graduate studies, completing his graduate degree in 1995 at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.  Since returning to central California in 1996 he has won numerous awards including Best of Show and First Place in several regional juried exhibitions, including Yosemite Renaissance. Claes’ work has been in group exhibitions throughout northern and central California, and has been seen at galleries in Colorado, Arizona and New York.  Solo shows have been presented at Turlock’s Carnegie Arts Center and First Street Gallery, Modesto’s Central California Art Association Gallery, Sonora’s Vault Gallery, Sacramento’s Elliott Fouts Gallery, and most recently at Aerena Galleries in Healdsburg, California.

“Valley Grown” is on exhibit in the Ferrari Gallery at the Carnegie Arts Center through March 26. The Carnegie is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays.

Admission to the exhibition is $5 general admission, $3 students and seniors, free to Carnegie members and children 12 and under.