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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Pence Gallery’s annual Art Auction

From September 1st through 25th, the Davis-based art gallery held an auction of over 100 artists’ work to raise money for the rest of the year

When most think of an art auction, ideas of exclusivity and elitism might come up; however, this is not the case at Pence Gallery’s annual Art Auction. The non-profit gallery makes it clear that the primary vision and values of the auction are the community behind it and the ability to create an incredibly welcoming space. With enough variety in style and medium of pieces for anyone to find a favorite artwork at the show, Pence’s auction reinforces how art really is for everyone.

According to Natalie Nelson, the curator and director of the Pence Gallery as well as the primary organizer of this event, the Pence has “fulfilled the need in town for showing a wide range of visual art” since its opening in 1975 and the creation of the Art Auction over 25 years ago. The auction is not only Pence’s major event to raise funds for the year, but also a great chance for artists to get their names out to the entire community, the perfect place for community members to buy a piece of local art and just a fun show to walk through and appreciate art. 

Given the nature of the auction—a show with the goal to sell the work off the walls—artists tend to stick to their signature styles so as to guarantee the work they chose to bring will end up helping the Pence in the long run. Artist and Davis local Karen Fess-Uecker stuck to what she knew, providing the auction with two beautiful landscapes. 

“[Since the pandemic] I probably have over 50 paintings up in my studio, but chose landscapes [because] you want to pick what’ll sell,” said Fess-Uecker. 

With 130 artists and 143 works being shown at the auction, landscapes—both naturalistic and stylized paintings—definitely have a large presence throughout the gallery, and yet there is still more than enough room for the myriad other kinds of art, from ceramic sculptures to fully abstracted works. 

Whereas the previous Art Auction was held completely online due to the stay-at-home orders during September 2020, this year, the Pence was able to welcome the community back in and held a public reception on Sept. 10 as well as an artist party on Sept. 18 to express their appreciation for all the artists who contributed to the show. One aspect kept from last year’s auction was the online bidding, which allowed for bids to easily be placed remotely. 

“[Both this year and last year] we’ve had buyers from all over, since it’s all online… it used to just be Davis,” said Nelson. 

This community-centered art auction is the perfect culmination of Davis’ friendly reputation and presentation of the often overlooked yet thriving local art scene. According to Davis local and featured artist at the auction Carrie Cenisroz, Davis and Northern California were considered “a mecca for painters and all kinds of artists [in the mid 20th century]” and the community created around the Pence Gallery and Davis have a very similar love for the arts. 

Written by: Angie Cummings — arts@theaggie.org


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