Valley Focus: Cheryl Barnett & Dan Petersen

The Carnegie Arts Center is presenting the exhibition Valley Focus: Works by Cheryl Barnett & Dan Petersen in the Ferrari Gallery from January 9-March 17, 2019.

In a series of annual exhibitions, the Carnegie Arts Center has featured the work of established, late-career artists from California’s Central Valley. These shows have explored the works of individual artists, highlighting creativity and talent that has reached well beyond this region. This year we turn to assess the importance of two artist-educators who have made a significant impact on the state of the arts across the valley: Cheryl Barnett and Dan Petersen.

cheryl barnett with enlargement of v (for victorious) sculpture, 2018Barnett’s work in bronze sculpture has followers around the world. She is a master at an art form which can be technically challenging, but which is also uniquely expressive in her hands. Beginning with the human figure, Barnett abstracts and refines it, subtly reshaping our perceptions to see beauty and grace entwined with emotional expression.

petersen, dan - rocky rapids, watercolorPetersen’s medium is no less challenging. Over the years he has perfected a watercolor technique that is bold, personal and completely reflects his inspiration from nature’s beauty. Petersen’s works adorn the walls of homes and businesses throughout our region and beyond, showcasing the natural wonders to be found in the landscapes that surround us.

These two artists have influenced the direction of and appreciation for the fine arts in our region for a combined 60+ years through their faculty roles at Merced College and Modesto Junior College, institutions that play an essential role in providing resources for expanding the horizons of our valley’s residents. As talented instructors and mentors, both have seen their students grow and succeed as artists and teachers. Each in their own work is a role model for expert craftsmanship and artistic integrity – achieved through hard work, dedication to their art, and creative exploration.

RECEPTION: The Carnegie will host a reception for the artists on Thursday, January 10, from 6-8 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

HOURS AND ADMISSION: The Carnegie is open to the public Wednesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.  Admission to the exhibition is $5 general admission; free to Carnegie members and children 12 and under.


Cheryl Barnett completed her BA degree at UC Santa Cruz and MA degree in Art (cast bronze sculpture) at CSU, Fresno.  She began teaching at Merced College in 1981 as a part-time instructor, becoming a full-time professor in the art department from 1988 until her retirement in 2017.  She was a patina specialist at Artworks Foundry in Berkeley from 1985-88, maintaining studios in both the Bay Area and Merced several decades. Barnett’s work has been shown in over 100 group exhibitions, with 16 featured/solo shows (mainly in California), including a retrospective at the University Art Gallery, CSU Stanislaus in 2015.  She was represented by the Eleonore Austerer Gallery from 1990 until its closing in 2011, first in San Francisco and later in Palm Desert, CA.

Dan Petersen learned techniques as a teen in his father’s auto painting shop before deciding to pursue formal studies in art, eventually completing his MA degree in watercolor at San Jose State University. He taught high school art for several years before joining the faculty at Modesto Junior College in 1967. Petersen retired from teaching in 2003 and has continued to paint and exhibit professionally ever since from his home studio in Ripon. Over the years, Petersen has been the featured artist in more than 50 solo exhibitions. He has participated and won awards in more than 150 regional and statewide exhibitions, including taking top awards at the California State Fair and Northern California Arts. He has also won national awards in competitions such as Watercolors USA.

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