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Marin artists are on display in two new North Bay exhibits

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Marin-based artist Kate Solari Baker blends her mother’s handwriting and landscapes in her ‘Keeping Accounts’ exhibit. Image courtesy Sofie Contemporary Arts

There’s much to see in the North Bay, as two very different art shows open to the public.

In San Rafael, the Marin Center’s Bartolini Gallery hosts the latest iteration of the ongoing “FAULTline” series, “FAULTline: The County experience.” Organized by curator and Marin County Cultural Commissioner Jennifer Wechsler, this exhibit includes works by Clare Rojas, Jay Nelson, Alice Shaw and several other local artists who represent Marin’s artistic history and highlights.

“My reason for having these pop-up exhibits is to connect people,” says Wechsler. “I want to get everyone together and engage in art.”

The first two shows in the ‘FAULTline” series gathered artists living on or around the San Andreas fault line. This third exhibit is a much more expanded scope.

“I decided to cover 100 years of arts in Marin County,” says Wechsler.

The exhibit’s 60-plus pieces of art will look back on historical sites like the S.S. Vallejo houseboat in Sausalito and speak to organizations like the Headlands Center for the Arts and the new MarinShip Studios.

Wechsler sees the exhibit as a chance to encourage people to continue to make art and support art in Marin.

“Given what’s going on in the Bay Area, we’re losing places where art is able to be celebrated because of the high cost of living and real estate,” she says. “It’s important for me to have these areas where we can visually absorb art and have dialogue and explore the ways in which to be successful in the art world.”

Up the road in Calistoga, Napa Valley native Kate Solari Baker opens a new exhibit, “Keeping Accounts,” at Sofie Contemporary Arts on Friday, Jan 31. Baker’s latest works mark a new artistic direction in which Baker takes her mother’s handwriting and incorporates it into colorful mixed media collage.

“My family bought a property in Napa Valley in 1948,” says Baker. That property was the historic Larkmead Cellars winery and vineyard, and while Baker’s father worked in San Francisco, her mother ran the co-op property, and in doing so kept meticulous handwritten ledgers and accounts that Baker discovered after her mother’s death in 1992.

“It was a part of Napa Valley history in my mind,” Baker says. “It represented to me a different time in Napa Valley, when it was mostly farmers.”

Baker uses those ledger papers as a source for her art, creating large maps of the Larkmead property and other Napa Valley locales superimposed over the ledgers.

Working from her art studio in Sausalito’s Industrial Center Building (ICB), where she has been since the late ‘70s, Baker was best known for her nature-inspired pastels and figurative paintings before taking a turn toward collage.

“It’s very personal and it’s fun,” Baker says of her collage. “This is a part of my mother’s history and I’m following in her footsteps.”

‘Keeping Accounts’ opens Friday, Jan. 31, at Sofie Contemporary Arts, 1407 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga. 5:30pm. 707.942.4231. ‘FAULTline Art Show: The County Experience’ opens on Thursday, Feb. 6, at Bartolini Gallery, Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 6pm. 415.473.6014.
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