Palo Alto's Newest Art Gallery Thrives

The Fibre Arts Design Studio - despite being located outside of downtown - is becoming a destination, since first opening its doors in October. The gallery unveiled its newest exhibition, ANIMA, on Wednesday.

Though Palo Alto's Fibre Arts Design Studio has only been open a few short months, one would never tell, judging by the crowd that gathered for the opening of its newest exhibition Wednesday evening.

The gallery, located off of San Antonio Road, plans to host seven exhibitions a year, each with a different theme. The current exhibition, unveiled this week, centers on "an exploration of anima/animus: the self within," as gallery representatives describe it. The show includes the works of 11 artists.

Per the gallery’s usual liking, the pieces come to life through various media.

Artist Kathryn Hart showed a series of earthy paintings, each carrying a small, domestic object that brought with it the feeling that these were scenes being observed through a window, and into a home.

The artist from Colorado shared that they were about her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, and the rich memories that can be tapped into, simply by rediscovering such small objects as a mug, a series of nails, a piece of foreign currency.

Fred Yokel’s “human-based sculptures” were among the few figurines on display. One of his pieces, "Outta Here!", exposed the plights of three humanoid creatures as they fought to escape grooved boxes of which they sadly seemed to be an integral part.

Wo Schiffman—a central member of the gallery’s staff—made textural, off-the-canvas use of acrylics, gel and sand. As in her other works currently on display in the gallery, Animus seems predicated on a simple twosome of colors - in this case, black and green. It was a decision which, in itself, may invoke the gallery’s theme—animus/anima—borrowed from Jung’s school of analytical psychology.

ANIMA, the exhibition, runs through March 22, after which another theme thought up by the studio’s three curators will take its place. On the horizon are "Hearth and Home,” and another, “Waste Not,” which seems like a challenge of sorts - artists will base their works on salvaged and reused materials.

One of the curators, Shira Adriance, offered insight into the process of collating pieces for an exhibition.

“We advertise the call for entries for each show locally and nationally, through exhibition magazines and websites," she explained. "The call for entries go out and we also put in a lot of energy into our own research online. It ends up being a mixture of people that came to us, and people we approached."

In both cases the studio’s location proves practical, as the area is populated with craftsmen and local artists. Michael Meyer’s fine woodworking business is only a few blocks away, its work and furniture present in the shop and throughout the gallery.

And, the studio’s location is no hindrance to its popularity.

"We don't get street traffic the way you would on University Avenue, but the advantage is, we're starting to become a destination," she said of the gallery, which just opened its doors in October, a few short months ago.

The gallery certainly did feel like one Wednesday night, milling as it was with artists and visitors alike.

Fibre Arts Design Studio is located at 935 Industrial Avenue, Palo Alto. Exhibitions rotate every six weeks, with smaller community events taking place between them. Learn more at the studio's official website.


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