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Guston Abright & Julie Smiley Exhibition

September 25 - October 26

Opening Reception: September 28th, 7 to 9 pm

Guston Abright is an American Postwar & Contemporary artist. Born in San Francisco, CA in 1985, Abright grew up in a Bay Area art studio. He attended Rhode Island School of Design, receiving a BFA for Illustration in 2009. After working as an artist assistant in Brooklyn for several years, he returned to the Bay Area in 2015 to share a studio with his older brother in Oakland. He works in a variety of mediums, with a primary focus on figurative oil painting.

“Compulsive documentation of daily life provides me with an abundance of photographic reference from which to work. I mine my personal photo library for subject matter, and process that imagery through digital and analog collage. I manipulate source material rooted in my daily visual experience to create biographical mashups that are part absurdist and part memoir. While portraiture remains at the core of my practice, the resulting images often contain both the familiar and the surprising. 

At times I adhere closely to an original image, and at others I see new fictional narratives emerge from a distorted world. By making paintings from personal photos I’m curating and preserving a collection of my experiences, as one might in a scrapbook. These oil paintings give new life, energy and meaning to a glut of superfluous imagery that would otherwise languish in digital limbo, be lost to the depths of a hard drive, boxed in a dusty attic or shoved under the bed.”

Julie Smiley was born in Crescent City, California in 1977. Smiley’s main work is in oil painting, though she has often mixed media.  Smiley completed an MFA in Visual Arts Education from Ohio State University, received her teaching credential from Humboldt State University, CA, and has dual BAs in Studio Arts and Communication Arts from Gordon College, MA. 

Smiley’s work is greatly influenced by her sensitivity to relationships between people and physical spaces, and ideas of social and personal control. After teaching high school arts and starting a family in the last decade, her current work focuses on the local landscapes.


Beat Generation & Beyond

September 25 – October 26

The connecting theme through art from the Beat Generation was the element of collaboration – poets, musicians, artists, filmmakers, dancers and thespians all socialized together, which made the San Francisco renaissance all that much more exciting. Beginning in the late ’30s in West Coast art, there is an accumulation of events that suggests how readily Surrealism and Dada had been embraced by California artists.

Just as they were occurring on the West Coast, Happenings began to emerge in newly formed hangouts on the East Coast—cafes, galleries and bookstores were meeting places for artists and poets to share ideas and present. Jack Kerouac, John Cage, and the Black Mountain College students and instructors collaborated on performance and exhibitions similar to those happening on the West Coast. The interdisciplinary exchange of artistic ideas spread across the country heralding a new era of creative expression. These artists truly had a lyrical vision; they combined theater, music, painting, poetry, film, assemblage and sculpture. Their intention was to keep the galleries open at all costs, and in doing so, gave artists in San Francisco a place to express their creativity freely.

This collection is the premier Beat movement exhibition in the region. Combining visual art and ephemera, this multidisciplinary celebration evokes the true spirit of the Beat art movement. Beat Generation exhibition which includes broadsides, books, sculptures, and paintings. It also includes never-before-seen photos and ephemera of Jack Kerouac, Michael McClure, Joan Brown, Manuel Neri, the Six Gallery, and the King Ubu Gallery. Among the most notable Beat artists are also Miriam Hoffman, Wally Hedrick, Hassel Smith, Seymour Locks, Manuel Neri, José Ramon Lerma, Ralph Du Casse, Charles Strong, Roy De Forest, Clayton Pinkerton, George Herms, Betty Bishop, and David Park.

The exhibition runs from September 25th to October 26th at the John Natsoulas Gallery in downtown Davis. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience this rare collection of work!

What others are saying:

“I don’t know of anyone else who is doing this level of interdisciplinary collaboration between the visual, musical and literary arts. It is truly great work.”
– Joyce Jenkins, Poetry Flash

“Those for whom the San Francisco Beat phenomenon is merely the stuff of legend can get a taste of the real thing.”
– Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle



September 25
October 26
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