New exhibits for the Bakersfield Museum of Art

Ruben A. Perez, Reporter

By Ruben A. Perez



The Bakersfield Museum of Art is now showing exhibits that showcase the parts of museums that people don’t normally pay attention to.

The new exhibits showcase painter Matt Condron, photographer Harry Wilson and architect Randall Stout. Vicki Cruz, the curator of the show, took about two years to assemble the works of these artists to present it in Bakersfield.

“It started with Randall Stout, the architect, who’s in the main gallery,” Cruz said, “and he was sort of the hub for the other artists that are exhibiting with him and what I found so interesting about Randall is that he designs museum spaces and so I thought that was interesting, looking at architecture as art but also that houses art so that’s what really sort of attracted me to his buildings.”

Stout’s exhibit in the main hall is covered wall to wall with his original designs, scale models and large photographs of the museums that he and his teams have worked on over the years.  His museums are all over the world and include the Art Gallery of Alberta, Canada and the Hunter Museum of American Art in Tennessee.

Wilson’s exhibit consisted of black and white photographs of the area outside of museums.

“Usually the art of photographing inside of museums is prohibited so it really made him step outside of the museum walls and really examine the spaces around him, whether that be steps or the trees,” said Cruz on the set by Wilson.  Wilson was also the former black and white photography teacher at Bakersfield College.

Wilson’s exhibit actually came about by happenstance.  “I was busy with other projects focusing on other subjects and at this point I realized I had several photos of museums and galleries that were accumulating and I decided to see what I had and I realized a lot of images worked very well together and I thought ‘I need to pay attention to what I’m doing here,’” said Wilson.

The photos in his set are arranged in a way that one piece flows into the next. Having bicycles will connect two images and then they will connect by stairs, or a hallway or another detail most museum visitors overlook.

“I think it’s really important to try to be open and receptive to what is actually there,” Wilson said. “To see what is there and respond to it, not a preconceived idea of what is there for me to see.”

Condron’s exhibit features what appear to be almost photo-realistic paintings of chairs.  Condron has a different view of his work.

“I really don’t tell people these paintings are about chairs, even though they seem to be featured heavily and are front and center in most of my work.

“My paintings, in my experience, in my feeling, are about the space that surrounds the central object.

“I want you to be in the image when you’re looking at my work.  I want you to be the occupant in the space,” said Condron

“I thought again that looking at that space around these chairs which was so beautifully done, technically with oil paint is just a beautiful tie with the other artists,” said Cruz.

The exhibits will run at the museum until June 9.