Modesto exhibit 12 months in the making from 12 female artists

A book by artist Chloe Fonda with art by Judith Levi-Wood from the “12 Artists 12 Books” show at Peer Recovery Art Project, on J Street in Modesto on June, 3, 2015. All books in the show were made in collaboration with 12 artists.
A book by artist Chloe Fonda with art by Judith Levi-Wood from the “12 Artists 12 Books” show at Peer Recovery Art Project, on J Street in Modesto on June, 3, 2015. All books in the show were made in collaboration with 12 artists.

Call them the Arty Dozen.

A new exhibit at Peer Recovery Arts Project features “12 Artists, 12 Months, 12 Books” in a unique display from a dozen female artists.

The collaborative exhibit includes the 12 art books – each conceived and started by one of the 12 artists, then passed around to each of the other 11 during the course of one year – as well as works from the women, from paintings to jewelry. It runs through June 30.

An artists reception will be held during this month’s Third Thursday Art Walk on June 18 at Peer Recovery.

The idea for the books came from Chloe Fonda, who called Judith Levi-Wood. “One became two,” Levi-Wood said in an email interview. They selected five more artists each to complete the dozen. Janet Hardie and Levi-Wood worked on the show once the group decided to exhibit the books.

Fonda said in the email that the inspiration began as a means to have contact with other artists and to “play, push limits and share ideas. Bring some women together and watch what happens. This will not be boring. You can bet your book on that.”

The other artists participating with Fonda, Levi-Wood and Hardie are Chella Gonsalves, Ruth Ann Spencer, Judith Cochran, Betty Jean Reynolds, Henrietta Sparkman, Clara Van Dykhuizen, Shari Kopecki, Katie Carlson and Susan Dee Salvatori. Most are from the Modesto region, but the group includes women from Indiana, Washington and Oregon.

Each of the books had a theme or story to inspire the artists’ creative minds. Among the themes, Levi-Wood said, are “Sex and Soup,” “Friendship,” “Socks,” “Terra Incognita” and “The Magnificent Journey of Sir Henry Toad Louis La Lautrec.”

“Women, especially women artists, the 12 women artists, are strong, vigorous, playful, charming, every part of their being is shouting out to the viewer,” Levi-Wood said in the email. “We are in each book, come and see who we are. Aging women are still powerful, beautiful and can do just anything ... even if it is on the pages in a book.”

The project ran from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2014. Once each artist selected her theme and did her own piece in the books, they were passed via “snail mail” to one another, Levi-Wood said. At the end of the year, the books – each with 12 unique pages – landed back with their original artists.

“Being one of the 12 artists from out of state, I was honored to be asked to be a part of this project,” said Kopecki, formerly of Modesto and now living in Indiana. “I have been on art adventures with many of these 12 artists on many occasions where I always discovered something I had not realized about myself. This project I quickly agreed to. The result was unexpected, with having no idea the impact it would have on my own life. Dealing with the other artists’ medias and subjects over a year period of time has opened up many ideas and methods I would not have ever attempted.”

Modesto artist Jordi Camps showed the women canes he’d painted, leading 12 artists to each create their own canes, which will be auctioned off as a fundraiser at the artists reception.

In addition to the books, each woman also put her artistic touch on one of 12 canes that will be auctioned off during the June 18 reception to benefit the nonprofit Peer Recovery Arts Project. “The gallery provides many projects for adults and children,” Levi-Wood said. “The 12 artists wanted to do something for the gallery and this was a perfect fit.”

She said the idea for the canes came from Modesto artist Jordi Camps, who owns Picasso’s Art and Deli in downtown, where some of the women regularly get together one Friday each month.

In addition to the June 18 reception, a presentation on creating the books will be offered at the Mistlin Gallery’s general meeting Aug. 6. The public is welcome to attend.

The hope is that the project will inspire others to try something similar.

“My goal is to to share the experience of creating art books with other artists,” Hardie said, “to possibly inspire them to began their own circle of 12.”

Pat Clark: (209) 578-2312

12 Artists 12 Months 12 Art Books Exhibit

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through June 30; reception 5 to 9 p.m. June 18

Where: Peer Recovery Art Gallery, 1222 J St., Modesto

Admission: Free

Call: (209) 581-1695