The Art of Jack Malotte at the NMA

Jack Malotte makes artworks that celebrate the landscapes of the Great Basin, with a unique focus on contemporary political issues faced by Native people seeking to protect and preserve access to their lands. Malotte infuses wry humor into his work, even as he delves into subject matter that is sometimes serious and sobering. His most recent work reconsiders historical narratives and myths of the American West, refers to Western Shoshone and Washoe traditions and legends, and highlights longtime political, environmental, and legal struggles of Native communities.

Malotte was born in Schurz, Nevada, lived in Lee, Nevada as a young boy, and eventually moved to Reno where he attended local schools including Wooster High School. At the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California (1971-74), he was influenced by the work of Arthur Okamura, Jack Mendenhall, and Chuck Close. Malotte also worked as a U.S. Forest Service Firefighter. Malotte, who is Western Shoshone and Washoe, currently resides in Duckwater, Nevada, a rural community located in central Nevada. He is an enrolled member of the South Fork Band of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone.

If you go:

What: The Art of Jack Malotte

Where: Nevada Museum of Art, 160 W. Liberty St. , Robert Z. Hawkins Gallery, floor 3

Plenty to Do in July with Art Spot Reno

Art Spot Reno has partnered with Artown to bring free access to community outreach for visiting musicians. This year’s festival has some incredible talent to introduce to Reno. Here are the activities planned with some of the national and international artists designed to enrich the quality of life in our region.

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Ranky Tanky

Wed., July 11, from 2 – 3 p.m.

— Panel discussion with moderator Geralda Miller about the history of Gullah and how this soulful group uses their artistic voice to spread messages through traditional spirituals and folk songs.

Where: The Beckwith Gallery, 10 State St.

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Sidewalk Chalk

Sun., July 15 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

— A discussion with youth led by moderator Monique Andrea, Coordinator at The Center at the University of Nevada, Reno. The topic will be how activism can be used to stay positive and keep youth hopeful during these challenging times.

Where: Holland Project, 140 Vesta St.

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Tumbledown House

Mon. July 16 from noon – 1 p.m.

— A discussion with the band on how to succeed as an independent musician. They’ll provide tips on booking your own tours, finding venues on a national scale and recording at home. Moderated by Spike McGuire.

Where:  Pignic Pub and Patio, 235 Flint St.

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Ricardo Lemvo

Wed. July 18 from Noon – 1 p.m.  

— A moderated conversation with Ricardo Lemvo about the rich history of Afro-Cuban music followed by a Latin dance experience.

Where: Sierra Arts Foundation, 17 S. Virginia St.

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Jake Shimabukuro

Thurs. July 19 from noon – 1 p.m.

— Bring your ukuleles for a lesson from Jake, followed by a music jam.

Where: California Building, Idlewild Park 75 Cowan Dr.

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Mariachi Acero de Las Vegas

Mon. July 23 from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

— Bring your instruments and learn new techniques and polish up the old by members of the band.

Where: Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows, 1090 Bresson Ave.

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Red Baraat

Wed. July 25 from noon – 1 p.m.

— A discussion on the music of Red Baraat and how they write their multi-leveled songs. Followed by a Q & A and sing along.

Where: The Eddy, 16 S. Sierra St.

 

Places In Between

Think about the landscape in which you grew up. What images come to mind in clarity and which seem to fade behind the haze of time and forgetfulness? When I think about growing up in Nevada, the clear image of a 7/11 “Big Gulp” and the landscape of Pyramid Lake is superimposed over the foggy memories of apartment building sprinklers, hissing at night during the summer. When painter, Ewoud De Groot thinks of his personal landscape, images of swooping owls and ice-covered scenes come to mind. Except, his rendition of these landscapes is not wholly grounded in reality or in the intricate details of overt realism.

The exhibition, A Brush With Nature, presents De Groot’s abstracted and imagined renderings of the landscapes he is most familiar with juxtaposed with images of wildlife—most often birds. It is easy to dismiss these works as pointillist wildlife paintings, however, in conversing with the artist, I came to view them not as depicting a real or literal place in time, but rather as metaphors for his memories of these places and the animals that inhabit them.  

When viewing the works in person I was struck by the glow and layering of the paint, the expressive gestural marks, and even the textured surfaces created from the process of letting the paintings dry outside. All of these components capture the very nature of memory: it’s layers, its malleability, and its moments of clarity and moments of haze. Ultimately the paintings in A Brush With Nature bring together the relationship between representation/abstraction and fantasy/reality in order to create an atmospheric image that evokes a sense of place that goes beyond literal illustration.

Don’t sell these paintings short; in an age in which we increasingly consume art through our digital devices, it seems as if only the art that is overtly controversial or aesthetically slick captures our second-long attention spans and gets our likes. De Groot’s paintings don’t buy into these trends; his paintings are carefully crafted and are the result of his many experiments and playful manipulation of paint, and thus they require the viewer to slow down and most importantly to be in physical proximity to them in order to fully experience them.

If you go:

What:  “A Brush With Nature” exhibit by Ewoud De Groot

When:  May 10 – June 9, 2018

Where:  Stremmel Gallery, 1400 S Virginia St.

 

By Häsler R. Gómez