As a UC Davis Art History alumni, I was very excited when I heard that university would be getting its very own museum, The Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. The museum takes the place of the Nelson Gallery, which opened in 1976 and was named after Richard L. Nelson, the chair of the UC Davis Art Department.
The grand opening exhibition, Out Our Way, celebrates the development of the Art Department through paintings, sculptures, and prints by 12 artists who Nelson hired during his tenure at the university. These include Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Arneson, William T. Wiley, Roy De Forest, Roland Petersen, Manuel Neri, Ralph Johnson, Ruth Horsting, Daniel Shapiro, Tio Giambruni, Jane Garritson and John Baxter.
The museum itself has an architecturally stunning exterior and the exhibition space within is spacious and inviting. The venue is such an incredible asset to the university as it now provides a space to exhibit the immense collection of art owned by the school.
During my first visit, I chose to match a painting by Roland Petersen, whom I have a personal connection with. Several years ago we re-sold an original painting of Roland’s, which eventually led us to representing his work. Through this experience I have learned so much about his style, process, and oeuvre. While most will recognize his iconic picnic scenes featuring abstracted planes of color set in place and time by solitary figures, I chose to match an early, completely abstracted painting called “Cloud Shadows and Fields,” from 1973.