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Sonoma Valley Museum of Art free admission for 2017; new exhibits

The new show at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art combines paintings by David Ligare and contemporary works by California women sculptors. (Photo by Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune)

LORNA SHERIDAN,

There are two new exhibits at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, running through early January, 2018.

"Magna Fide (The Great Belief)" by David Ligare and "Forge and Stone: Works by Contemporary California Women Sculptors," will be on view through Jan. 7. The museum has also announced that admission is free to the public for the rest of the year. “Magna Fide (The Great Belief)” explores the creative process of American contemporary classicist painter David Ligare by focusing on the steps it took to create his 2014 artwork, "Magna Fide."

Deeply influenced by the Neoclassical painters of the 17th and 18th century, Ligare makes narrative oil paintings, still lifes, and landscapes based on classical Greco-Roman themes.

“What I wanted more than anything was to search for the center or the source of Western art,” he has said of his practice. “I sought to understand the underlying principles of Greek culture...”

Finding the contemporary art world saturated with a certain type of “looking,” Ligare turned to classicism to re-imagine ideas of light, balance, symmetry, and harmony. On view in the exhibition will be numerous studies, sketches, and photographs by the artist, allowing visitors to investigate Ligare’s methods for completing "Magna Fide."

"Forge and Stone: Works by Contemporary Women Sculptors" surveys sculpture by contemporary California female artists. Sculpture as a medium is dominated by men, but in the past few years, various exhibitions have featured solely female sculptors. These works will challenge traditional views, and highlight the creativity and versatility of female artists, which include: Ynez Johnston Diana Moore, Gwynn Murrill, Gertrud Parker, Lisa Reinertson, Jane Rosen and Alison Saar.

“It’s our hope that in the coming weeks the Museum will be a safe haven and gathering place for all to experience the healing power of art,“ said museum director Linda Keaton.

Several events tied to the exhibits are planned for the coming months.

SVMA will next present its Pairings for the Senses from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2.

“Wine + Food and Poetry + Art all come together in a set of dynamic pairings to delight all our senses,” says Keaton.

“Pairings” at SVMA is a concept inspired by the long-running Flight of Poets where live poetry readings are paired with the perfect Sonoma Valley wines, and the art of the exhibits are paired with Sonoma Valley cuisine.

Sommelier Christopher Sawyer will serve as the master of ceremonies.

The poets for the evening, selected and introduced by Tess Taylor, include Hollie Hardy, the author of "How to Take a Bullet, And Other Survival Poems" and winner of the 2016 Annual Poetry Center Book Award. Iris Jamahl Dunkle is Poet Laureate of Sonoma County. Her books include “Interrupted Geographies,” “There’s a Ghost in this Machine of Air” and “Gold Passage.” Tongo Eisen-Martin is author of “Someone’s Dead Already,” which was nominated for a California Book Award.

The featured Glen Ellen and Kenwood area chefs and vintners will be announced soon.

Tickets are $35 SVMA members, $40 general public.

The museum will also be offering an all-levels drawing class Wednesday, Nov. 8, 5 to 8 p.m.

This all-levels drawing class will focus on the development of still life compositions in various lighting conditions. Using charcoal, kneaded eraser, and newsprint instruction, it will cover techniques and strategies for charcoal rendering. Space is limited.

The Museum’s annual Holiday Make-In will be held on Saturday, Nov. 18, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All ages are invited for a day of handmade art-making with multiple making stations, hosted by local artists, featuring a wide range of hands-on projects. Four professional photographers (two bilingual Spanish speakers) will provide free framed family photos to anyone who lost theirs in the Northern California fires as part of SVMA’s Holiday Make-In. The photography is made possible by Audrey Daniel of ArayStudio, Robin Allen Photography, Gabriele Lange Photography and Margot Hartford Photography.

Admission is free.