Last chance to find ‘Undiscovered’

Have you wondered what it’s like to see an artist before he or she gets hip, hot, famous… discovered?

“Undiscovered,” new exhibition at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art presents five artists who have never been seen in a solo museum exhibition and who do not yet have gallery representation. But hurry — the show closes this Sunday, March 18.

Highlighting the diversity and depth of talent within the area, the exhibition features a kaleidoscopic range of artistic styles.

“This show is clear evidence that Sonoma County has an extraordinary and diverse art scene,” said SVMA Executive Director Kate Eilertsen. “It’s home to some of the freshest and most sophisticated art-makers in this country.”

The work of Sebastopol artist Esther Traugot investigates a personal connection with the natural world. She creates intricate coverings for wasps, twigs and shells, exploring them as objects and also, in the space they occupy, as environments or fantasy landscapes.

Conceptual artist Peter Hassen of Sonoma works from a nexus of spirituality and culture, making works, from videos to objects revealed only by tidal erosion.

Santa Rosa printmaker William Smith’s works on paper incorporate comically grotesque and cartoonish characters operating as archetypes of social commentaries. The vibrant and playful colors add a sweetened outer shell to the bitter pill of human folly.

Cathy Ellis of Sebastopol paints fluorescent, idealistic, disaster narratives, which she claims, “build a world that is part romanticism and part social critique.”

Sonoma resident Ryan Lely has a lifelong passion for photography that has evolved with emerging technology. He uses his iPhone to create art from everyday scenes that are typically overlooked.

The participating artists were selected Eilertsen and Michael Schwager, gallery director and Professor of Art at Sonoma State University. The exhibition opens with an evening reception on Friday, Jan. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. It runs through March 18.

The museum is located at 551 Broadway. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults; free to children k-12 and museum members. For more contact 939.7862 or

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