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American photographer Martha Casanave (b. 1946) is the 34th recipient of the Fresno Art Museum’s Council of 100 Distinguished Woman Artist Award. She is also a writer and educator, living and working in Monterey, California.
Casanave has been one of the few women photographers in a male-dominated regional artistic circle that included Ansel Adams and Brett Weston. Her dedication to her career and her contributions to the field of photography were strong factors in the Council of 100 choosing to honor her. Her approach to her subject matter is innovative in both technique and vision. Casanave situates the subjects of her portraits in their respective environments in a way that reveals aspects of their character and interests. With her degree in Russian Language and Literature, Casanave’s photographs taken during her many trips to the USSR raise our consciousness by revealing either the lives of underground artists or the social graces experienced in interactions with the general populace. In all of her work, Casanave experiments with traditional photographic techniques and alternative processes and does not work with digital images.
This solo exhibition Imaginings: Portraits and False Flag, with its accompanying catalog, features 27 large-scale photographs focusing on two different photography projects: 12 black-and-white portraits of famous women and men of the art world, and 15 color prints of selections from her USSR project.
Martha Casanave won the prestigious Imogen Cunningham Photography Award in 1979 and the Koret Israel Prize in 1989. Her photography is published in four monographs, and she has taught photographic workshops and master classes in the United States and abroad. Her work has been shown internationally as well as nationally and is in the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
In 2008, the Fresno Art Museum Gift Shop closed its doors after being an institutional mainstay since the early 1970s. It was with great anticipation and excitement that we re-opened the FAM Museum Store on December 4, 2018. Michele Ellis Pracy, the Museum's Executive Director & Chief Curator, has invited selected local and regional artists to sell original artwork, one-of-a-kind jewelry, and artful utilitarian objects from lamps to soaps. The FAM Museum Store carries some unique ancillary products branded with the FAM logo. A children's section includes museum-relevant to-do projects, books, and art.
In the late 1940s, a group of local artists formed the Fresno Art League to provide a facility to exhibit and critique each other’s work and to share their enthusiasm for art. The League gathered support for their organization from the community, and in 1949, the Fresno Arts Center was incorporated. In 1960, after years of planning, the Fresno Arts Center building in Radio Park at First Street and Clinton Avenue was dedicated. The Fresno Arts Center became an active venue for art exhibitions and educational programs including artist talks, workshops, and art classes for children and adults. A mission statement, goals, and objectives were developed. In 1973 the Arts Center was granted accreditation by the American Association of Museums (now, American Alliance of Museums) after an extensive study of the organization, finances, staff expertise, programs, care and storage of the permanent collection, and physical facilities. In 1985 the Board of Trustees changed the Center’s name to the Fresno Arts Center and Museum. The name was changed again to the Fresno Art Museum in 1988, following a suggestion from the American Association of Museums that was made during the re-accreditation process. Over the ensuing years, the Museum has continued to maintain its accreditation, most recently being reaccredited in 2016.
2233 North First Street Fresno CA 93703
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