Sonoma State University presents "Cries and Whispers: Paintings by John Yoyogi Fortes and Cate White" in the University Art Gallery, Nov. 3-Dec. 11. Admission to the gallery is free, parking is $5-$8 on campus. A free opening reception is Thursday, Nov. 3, 4-6 p.m. in the University Art Gallery.
Both artists will hold a special lecture speaking about their work in the exhibition. White will present on November 30 and Fortes will present on December 7. Both lectures will begin at noon in the University Art Gallery and are free to the public with the exception of parking.
While their imagery is clearly distinct from one another, they both create complex, colorful, and personal paintings that at times evoke graffiti art and the narrative quality of graphic novels. In addition, each artist employs text in their work that often echoes the title of the painting and can add to -- or obscure -- its meaning.
Regarding his paintings, Fortes writes, "The underlying theme of my work is self-examination. Drawing inspiration from many sources, I often gravitate toward dark humor and a raw, quirky, naive aesthetic. I use humor, text and comic imagery as an invitation into my work."
White has stated that her depictions of friends and family in her Oakland neighborhood exist "outside any art-world discourse about race and representation." She calls painting a "tool for reconciliation" and further suggests that art has the power to "counter the cultural trance of normal."
Both Fortes and White are award-winning artists: Fortes has received grants from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, the California Arts Council, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation; White has received the Tournesol Award from the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito and recently completed a one year artist residency in Roswell, New Mexico.
Both are Northern California artists -- Fortes lives in Sacramento, while White is based in Oakland.
This exhibition was co-curated by Mark Perlman, professor emeritus of painting at Sonoma State, and Michael Schwager, director of the University Art Gallery and professor of art history.
The University Art Gallery is open Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and weekends, noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 664.2295.