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Thursday, February 29, 2024

International House to showcase international art

The International House will be holding a special gallery opening starting Nov. 8. The gallery is called The Traveling Eye and features the work of local artist Chris Kidd and east coast photographer Danni Downing.

The International House has hosted many artists in the past from around Davis and the Bay Area. This specific gallery is meant to mix together different types of media that complement one another and offer similar ideas.

The theme of The Traveling Eye is meant to instill a sense of wanderlust in those who observe the photos and paintings side by side, as well as promote international enthusiasm.

Chris Kidd, a Davis watercolor artist and teacher, has spent much time capturing her vision of the west coast from Seattle to Los Angeles. The gallery will include landscapes, cityscapes and town stills from her travels to multiple destinations including Germany, Mexico and Hawaii.

Danni Downing, an editor and photographer from Washington D.C., will be displaying her work from her travels as well. Downing is known for capturing the bold, vivid colors of foreign landscapes as well as everyday human life. The work she is providing for the gallery mostly focuses on natural landscapes and city scenes from places like Alaska, Turkey and the Bahamas.

“I grew up in New Hampshire, and there the autumn colors are so rich and vibrant and the spring season is full of beautiful, deeply colored flowers,” Downing said. “I grew up surrounded by color and that’s part of why I’m drawn to it; we love what we’re familiar with and that comes through in my art.”

Because the gallery is meant to display both types of media side by side, it will be up to the artists to decide how they’d like to showcase their work. Frank Roe, a member of the International House art committee, said that choosing artists that would go well together is a long, careful process.

“We had long conversations with both Downing and Kidd on how they thought their art would fit together,” Roe said. “Their work seems to fit nicely to one another, but the artists themselves are in charge of putting the artwork up and they decide how they want their pieces to connect.”

One of the main goals of this gallery is to inspire conversation about the pieces among art enthusiasts. Since the gallery is free to the public, many people may stroll through the International House to view the art, but the art committee hopes that The Traveling Eye will spark more than just a quick walk-through.

Jeffrey Granett, the current head chair of the International House art committee, felt that Downing and Kidd’s work offered more than just a skin deep image; it offered intuition about the state of the natural world and faraway destinations.

“I’m always looking to see if a piece of art says anything to me,” Granett said. “It should communicate feelings, ideas and opinions when I look at it. Is it a conversation piece or is it just decoration? Will people want to discuss it with one another? These are the important questions.”

Through this gallery, the art committee hopes to attract interested observers and artists, including UC Davis students. Ray Borton, founder of the art committee, expressed his interest in all types of media being displayed, and his hopes that UC Davis undergraduates and graduates alike could take advantage of the free International House gallery.

“We take all media of art, including fabrics, weavings, paintings, photography and print,” Burton said. “We try to display a variety of things for everyone to enjoy.”

Students are encouraged to send in their artwork for future galleries to the International House. Roe believes that once students visit this gallery, they can decide if they’d like to participate as an artist.

“It’s a lot of time and effort to create a gallery, but it’s good experience and it will be presented in a fine manner,” Roe said.

The Traveling Eye will run from Nov. 8 to Dec. 7 in the main gallery at the International House. Admission is free. For information on how you can submit your artwork, visit internationalhousedavis.org/programs/art-exhibits/.

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