Summer 2017 - Exhibitions Arte Américas - Fresno - South of the Grapevine


  • FUTURESPECTIVE: A collection of works by emerging Valley artists
  • South of the Grapevine: Works by L.A. artists Rick Ortega & Sergio Teran
  • Imagenes Antiguas:  Artwork by F. John Sierra
  • Rarámuri: The People The Place  -- Photography by Juan Arambula

Ruiz Gallery
Curated by Adam Mena

“From the outside, 1626 H Street is just another nondescript warehouse along a stretch of warehouses that sit across from the railroad tracks in downtown Fresno...If it wasn’t for the signage or the decorative lion’s head knocker posted on the industrial gray door, you wouldn’t know this was a hot spot for young, urban art seekers. The Arthouse studio and collective is a foundation space where young artists can show their work for a low, flat rate and no commission on sales."   Joshua Tehee - The Fresno Bee

Over the course of four short years, The Arthouse served as an incubator for next-generation Central Valley artists. Housed inside a colossal warehouse, four artists (Adam Mena, Erik Beltran, and brothers Creighton and Christopher Geigle invested their own money to transform the dilapidated 6,500 square foot industrial structure into a respected and sought-after art space.
Special attention was given to lighting and ‘floating walls’ were installed, which evoked an aesthetic that echoed established venues in the edgy metropolitan warehouse gallery districtsof Los Angeles or New York City.  The founders also gave instruction and guidance to the new
artists about how to prepare and present their artwork for a museum or gallery setting.

The youthful, Do-It-Yourself ethos of the founders was also clearly evident after the makeover of the warehouse. A skateboard ramp was constructed in the gallery, as well as a stage for DJs, poets, and musicians to perform.  

 The vibe of the events presented were a combination of hip-hop, punk rock, lowbrow, skateboard, academic, and graffitti culture all mixed into one. All aspects of the space were geared toward the benefit of the creative community, as exemplified by the Arthouse motto:  ‘By The Artists, For The Artists.’  

It should be noted that dozens of artists who
were a part of the art collective refined their techniques and skillsets to such a level that museums and galleries took notice, and began including a greater number of Arthouse affilates into high-level solo and group shows. 
In December 2016 a structure fire horrifically killed thirty-
six people at an Oakland warehouse and art collective called ‘Ghost Ship.’  Following reports that the Bay Area art space had been illegally (and dangerously) converted into live/work spaces for artists, municipalities across California began to make unannounced visits to artists’ studios and art spaces in search of code violations. 

The Fresno Fire Department visited the Arthouse after receiving five calls from local residents shortly after the Ghost Ship incident. The founders of the vibrant art space were given the impossible choice of either paying tens of thousands of dollars in repairs (after already investing over $40,000 in upgrades) or closing its doors forever. The latter choice was made with great difficulty and much discussion.

In the wake of the Arthouse closure, it has become evident that the closure of the art space was not the end of the story – but the end of a chapter.  In fact, opportunities for members of the collective to showcase works at new venues and festival are presenting themselves more now than ever.  The founders are committed to continuing the presentation of group shows like this one, in addition to mentoring new and aspiring artists.


FAM Partnership Gallery
South of the Grapevine: 
Works by L.A. artists Rick Ortega & Sergio Teran
Curated and conceptualized by Frank L. Delgado

Curator's Statement:

This is the second year that our galleries have hosted an exhibition titled South of the Grapevine, featuring artists from throughout Southern California whose works have been shown in some of the most prestigious galleries and museums across the world.  

The spirit of the series, however, goes far beyond the concept of presenting outstanding artwork by A-list artists.  In addition to the exhibition on view in Fresno is a companion exhibition that features Valley artists being shown in Los Angeles as you read this, appropriately titled: North of the Grapevine

The 2017 exhibition features Los Angeles legends Sergio Teran and Rick Ortega.  The two artists create strong works that excite the eye and engage the soul. The colors of their palettes are bright and distinctly Latino -- and their content is beautifully executed and filled with deep narrative.  These are works that require for a third or fourth experience, as new details will be revealed in each.

About the Artists:
Rick Ortega  was born and currently lives in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley. His mystical works present ancient ways of life, dense with indigenous symbols from Mexico’s past. Colorful compositions revealing history, myths, legends and spiritual beliefs of the Mexicas (Aztecs) like modern day codices.  Each painting captures the heritage of his ancestors, who held the arts in the highest regard. Their belief:  Tlacuilo (The Painter) had his heart rooted in God and would transfer the symbols of divinity to his paintings.  Ortega channels this spirit of The Painter and focuses on the beautiful artistry and spirituality of the Mexica in his evocative works. He is currently resident artist at Chemaya Gallery in L.A.  

Sergio Teran Artist Statement 2015
I work with images of representation and I make visceral art work that is inspired by media, personal experience and art. I am a storyteller and in my work you will find a spectrum of painting. I use figuration in my work as a way to represent diversity in Los Angeles and contemporary painting. My images of people and places impart dialogue through direct and indirect narratives. At times abstraction is utilized to bring attention to the process of painting as a language. I enjoy working in multimedia and often experiment with surface texture. I favor a physical approach to art-making, and I try to imbue the art object with that imprint, i.e. where marks echo gesture, layers are built up through various stages of media over long periods, and surfaces express diverse textures and treatments

The companion exhibition "North of the Grapevine" exhibition is on view at Avenue 50 Studio in the Highland Park neighborhood of L.A. The exhibition is featured in three gallery spaces at the prestigious venue. Many thanks to Director/Curator Kathleen Gallegos for giving our Valley artists the opportunity to show their works in Southern California.  The opening night reception for the Highland Park show attracted 250 people.


Rinconcito Gallery
Rarámuri:  The People The Place
The Tarahumara People of Copper Canyon MX
Photographs by Juan Arambula

The Rarámuri are a Native American people of northwestern Mexico who are renowned for their long-distance running ability.  When the Spanish arrived in the 1500s, they called this native people the "Tarahumara,” who were originally inhabitants of much of the state of Chihuahua.   

The Rarámuri retreated to the high sierras and canyons such as the Copper Canyon in the Sierra Madre Occidental on the arrival of Spanish, and the area of the Sierra Madre Occidental which they now inhabit is often called the Sierra Tarahumara because of their presence. The Tarahumara word for themselves, Rarámuri, means "runners on foot" or "those who run fast." 

With widely dispersed settlements, these people developed a tradition of long-distance running up to 200 miles (320 km) in one session, over a period of two days through their homeland of rough canyon country, for inter-village communication and transportation and hunting.  
Arambula’s dedication to respecting the traditions and wishes of the people whose culture he looks to share with the viewer creates breathtaking results.    

One of the cultural restrictions in Copper Canyon, for example, is that you may not photograph the face of a Rarámuri without their spoken permission.  Arambula is able to capture the trust of people that he meets in fleeting moments, providing a window into their souls for individuals who may not otherwise know about this indigenous group.
Juan Arambula is the son of immigrant farm workers, and harvested crops with his family throughout California in his youth. He graduated with high honors from Harvard University, and went on to earn a Master's degree in Educational Administration and Policy Analysis from the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of California, Berkeley. He served on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors from 1997 to 2004, during which time he earned the Rose Ann Vuich Award for Ethics in Leadership in 2002 for his public service. He served on the Fresno Unified School District Board, where he worked to meet the needs of a diverse student population while maintaining financial stability during lean budget years, and on the Board of Directors for the California School Boards Association and the California State Association of Counties.    

Arambula retired from public office after representing the 31st district from 2004 to 2010 as a State Assemblyman.  He now photographs, prints, mattes, and frames his own works.  

Community Gallery 
Imagenes Antiguas
The artwork of F. John Sierra

F. John Sierra is a visual artist  whose works span a variety of media and thematic influences.   He is a muralist, educator, curator and a co-founder of both a Chicano muralist collective, Brocha del Valle, and the Fresno cultural center, Arte Américas Where he served as the chief curator for more than ten years.    

Ten years prior, from June through July of 1977, Sierra presented an exhibition of his works in a show also titled Imagenes Antiguas. He even asked his good friend,  a young Fresno writer by the name of Gary Soto, to composed a poem for the exhibition. 

 The 2017 edition of this exhibition, forty years after the original show,  displays the masterful technique of an artist who has continued to invoke the inspiration of Latino artists like Rufino Tamayo.  This current grouping features works that have primarily been painted onto muslin cloth that the artist treats specifically using a traditional and ancient process.   
The works are then presented in the style of ancient archaeological treasures and are filled with images and symbols that reflect an ancient spirituality.


Something steps from the horizon

A figure haloed in dust   

And shifting in the mouths of the dead

I call it a caffold of bone

Laddered from your arm

Moving like shade

Beyond light

And all understanding

It equals your palms their lines

Rising with sweat

And the sweating seeding the fields

Where fruit is the sun mirrored

In your likeness

It Equals what you say is a flood

If so when the waters recede

We will know it is our geography

Pressed in stone

So we can now see

-    Gary Soto