Jon Gariepy has loved cars and boats since he was a child in the 1950s, growing up in the bustling port city of Long Beach, in Southern California. Between the ships in the harbor and the autos on the highway, the young Gariepy had plenty of noisy, shiny moving objects to capture his attention.
“And I’m now exploring what happens to them as they decay,” says the Petaluma artist.
Locals can see exactly what Gariepy means in a new exhibit at the Petaluma Arts Center.
Including the works of dozens of PAC member artists - with Gariepy as this year’s Featured Artist - the show is a conspicuous evolution of the traditional “open members” exhibition. Unlike other group shows in the past, this one is juried. In what PAC sees as an inaugural effort, this show was carefully created with the assistance of juror Michael Schwager, a professor of art history and museum studies at Sonoma State University.
The show, which kicks off this weekend, puts a special focus on the works of Gariepy.
An accomplished sculptor and painter, the artist’s gorgeously decomposing art works — detailed 3D approximations of cars, trucks, and boats in a state of attractively collapsing dilapidation — explore his fascination with industrial degeneration. At once whimsical and mesmerizing, his works, large and small, draw their power from seeing objects designed for speed and motion in an advanced state of stationary decline.
“I see in them the energy that emanates from discarded dreams,” he says. “Those old cars forgotten in garages, or pieces of old boats rotting in the harbor, or on the back lot of a boatyard, one step away from the junkyard or dismantler.”
INAUGURAL PAC MEMBERS JURIED EXHIBITION
What: A large two-gallery display of works by Petaluma Arts Center members, including Featured Artist Jon Gariepy.
When: Opening reception Saturday, Nov. 11, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The exhibit then runs Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., through January 6, 2018.
Where: Petaluma Arts Center, 230 Lakeville.
Admission to Gallery: $5 general; $4 seniors, students, teachers, military.
Website: PetalumaArts Center.org.