Art that put the Bay Area on the map | March 10, 2023 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - March 10, 2023

Art that put the Bay Area on the map

New exhibition at Bankhead spotlights the Figurative movement

by Jeremy Walsh

Explore the creativity and expertise of perhaps the most significant art movement in Bay Area history, now on display in the Bankhead Theater in downtown Livermore.

"Bay Area Figurative Exhibit: Emerging from Abstraction", the new exhibition in the UNCLE Credit Union Art Gallery, "highlights the significance of this movement, considered the first significant North-American art movement to be based on the West Coast," and features works from accomplished painters of the genre, past and present, including late Livermore artist and educator Oneida Stowe, according to Livermore Valley Arts officials.

"The public is invited to share in this hometown exhibit at The Bankhead, with a unique opportunity to look into this notable movement right from our part of the world, to see how art from our beautiful corner of the globe was influenced by our surroundings and in turn influenced back the greater art world as a whole," LVA officials said.

The Bay Area Figurative movement was born in the 1950s with local painters starting to move away from the popular Abstract Expressionism genre and focus their paintings on recognizable subject matter, according to LVA.

"Oftentimes, the subjects were figurative and usually painted with the beautiful strong light for which Northern California is known. A second generation of Bay Area Figurative artists emerged following the 1950s, and the style continues with a new generation of artists today," LVA officials said.

The exhibition now open at the Bankhead includes works from late Figurative artists such as Stowe, Jerome Carlin and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, in addition to a number of contemporary artists working in the Figurative style.

Carlin gained prominence starting in the 1970s in the Berkley area with paintings that now "embody the Bay Area Figurative style through the use of color and loose representation," LVA officials noted.

Ferlinghetti was a poet, painter and social activist in the Bay Area and co-founder of City Lights. Stowe, who died in 2005, was a well-regarded artist based out of Livermore and taught art classes for 15 years at Las Positas College.

The exhibition, which opened last month and runs through April 23, will feature an open house art reception this Saturday (March 11) from 1-3:30 p.m. with select artists scheduled to appear and speak more about their works that are part of the display.

The gallery is free and open for ticketed patrons of the Bankhead during performances and for the general public on Thursdays through Sundays from 1-5 p.m. The Bankhead Theater is located at 2400 First St. in downtown Livermore. For more information, visit


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