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Turlock artist reflects local landscape in Sacramento show
sunstruck 2010

A Turlock artist, who finds his inspiration in the lush and bountiful agricultural fields of the Central Valley, is having his work displayed at a Sacramento gallery.

John Karl Claes is the current featured artist at the Elliot Fouts Gallery in Sacramento. Claes is presenting a new series of paintings, titled “Vista and Horizons” that represent the San Joaquin Valley, as seen through his eyes.

“I paint my environment,” Claes said. “If I did not live in the Central Valley, my work would be of something else.  I use this landscape as a departure point, and I distill what I have observed to make paintings that have a connection with the natural world.  Even though I am strongly influenced by this landscape, I am essentially an abstract painter.”

Claes grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, earning a Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Stanislaus and a Masters in Arts from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

He has shown his creations locally and across the country and has garnered awards and critical acclaim for his paintings.

"I have painted the agricultural landscape of the West for nearly 20 years,” he said. “It is here, in this western landscape, that I have matured as a painter, and it is this land that challenges and inspires me.

 “It is the formal elements of painting that are the most important. I use what I see and experience as an armature for my work.  I pay closest attention to how the painting is put together, how the colors interact with each other and where those colors are placed.  These elements are of utmost importance; for if these basic components fail, the painting will also fall short.  I am successful when both image and paint become inseparable and fused together," Claes said.

Claes’ work will be on display through Dec. 2. The Elliot Fouts Gallery is at 4749 J St., in Sacramento. The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.