Her View: The Bay Area Figuration of Gail Chadell Nanao

  • April 28 - June 10, 2018


Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is pleased to present Her View: The Bay Area Figuration of Gail Chadell Nanao, the first solo retrospective of the Berkeley-based artist associated with the Bay Area Figurative movement of the 1950s. Nanao's work blends the spontaneous bravura brushwork of Abstract Expressionism with a reimagining of figuration. Having studied in the early 1960s at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) with Nathan Oliveira and James Weeks, Nanao is situated amongst the second generation of Bay Area Figurative artists alongside Joan Brown, Manuel Neri, and Bruce McGaw. Nanao had important early exhibitions of her work in New York and Tokyo in the 1960s, but dropped from the public eye until the early 2000s when her work was rediscovered.

Sonoma Valley Museum of Art will present the full range of Nanao’s work, from her dark, existentialist paintings of the early 1960s, such as Birthday Party (1963)—a response to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy—to her dramatic Venus and Adonis series, which show her consummate handling of the drip and gesture, informed by a range of influences, from Asian calligraphy to modern masters such Edvard Munch and Francis Bacon.