main gallery

April 4–29, 2018

2nd Saturday Gallery Reception: April 14, 5 pm – 8 pm
The Mendocino Art Center hosts a free Second Saturday Artists Reception each month. Enjoy snacks and wine, and meet the exhibiting artists.

Mendocino Art Center's
Artists in Residence Exhibit

Artists in Residence Exhibit

Mendocino Art Center’s Artists in Residence Exhibit, an eagerly anticipated annual showing, features a wide spectrum of new artwork – including ceramics, paintings, printmaking, jewelry and sculptural works in a variety of media – created by the artists during their residencies at the Mendocino Art Center.

The Mendocino Art Center’s Artists in Residence (AIR) Program brings both emerging and established artists from all over the country to a unique art center on the rural Northern California coast. The location provides tranquility and inspiration in a community full of local artistic talent.



My body of work strives to emphasize the human-arboreal interrelationship. Trees have been an inherent factor in our survival as a species, and, in turn, are an integral part of humanity's culture. They are the ultimate matriarch, they protect us with shelter, they keep us in motion by providing fuel and fire, and nourish our bodies with medicine and food. Due to their essentiality, their presence is implicit in our civilization: references to trees live in our language, mythos, and provide a leeway to a higher understanding beyond our existence; just like the Buddha under the bodhi tree or Sir Isaac Newton under the apple tree.

As Nancy Newhall famously said, “The wilderness holds answers to questions man has not yet learned to ask.” For Thoreau it provided inspiration and solace; for John Muir it was a healing ritual; for humanity, the outdoors brings us back to our roots, it grounds us. For me, the wilds allows me to take a step back and recognize what we are missing and have lost in our everyday lives. During my time at the Mendocino Art Center, I have created a line that provides the wearer inspiration to seek greater wisdom in nature and to bestow empowerment within themselves.

Visit elisabeth's website


Sue Bradford is a multi-disciplinary artist working in printmaking, mixed-media, textiles, encaustic, and paint in Napa, California. Art making is one of the ways she is able to make sense of the world. Working through social and political issues through art enables problems to be understood, resolutions to come to light, and, somehow, helps to right some things in the world.

She has a BArch in Architecture and Design from Cal Poly Pomona and has studied printmaking at Napa Valley College, Kala Art Institute and with master printer, Dan Welden.

Sue has shown her work throughout the western states and Washington, DC. She has been included in shows at the Napa Valley Museum, Sebastopol Center for the Arts and Berkeley Art Center. Her work is in private and corporate collections. She has taught printmaking workshops in her Napa studio and Mendocino Art Center, assisted on national and international painting tours and has been a mentor to teens in art making.

Visit Sue's website


I am a storyteller. Whether I’m painting, writing or taking photographs, the element of story, on some level, must be present for it to get my attention.  

In my watercolor paintings, I begin each work with a preliminary vision or reference of the subject matter I want to paint. I then do a value study or two to determine the mood I wish to portray. I determine my color palette ahead of time and frequently use only three colors to achieve the finished result. I keep detailed notes, both visual and written, to document my processes. 

My goal as an artist is to create an inviting sense of place in my work, with the hope that the viewer will feel warmly invited to linger there. You will often find the use of dramatic light and shadow in my paintings, as well as the use of windows, doors and passageways as metaphors.

Linda Cloonan is a native California artist and writer. Her work has been featured in Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. Her articles have been published in Mendocino Arts magazine, among others. She is a longstanding member and recent award winner of both the California Watercolor Association and the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Her work is held as part of the permanent collection of Levi Strauss & Co. as well as the Hotel Bristol in Sorrento, Italy. Her photographs have been published in Italia Magazine, the front page of the Mendocino Beacon and were prominently featured in the Walnut Creek 100 year Centennial Brochure. Her first book of paintings and photos, My Summer Of La Dolce Vita, was published in 2012 and depicts her journey through Italy. In 2016 she left behind a 35-year career in apparel design, pattern making and product development to pursue her art full time.

You can find her work at The Valley Gallery, Walnut Creek; and the Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino. Her current visual work explores the storyline of meditative and reflective places depicted with mood provoking use of light and shadow. 

Visit Linda's website


Debra discovered silk painting in 1997 and has been watching dye flow on silk ever since. Silk painting lets her create fabric patterns for a truly unique look when applied to her bias cut blouses, dresses, and jackets.  She places the motif so that it dances across the body, transforming the wearer, lightening her mood and freeing her spirit. In creating her clothing and wall art, she starts with white silks of varying weights and textures from gauzy chiffons, mid-weight satins and jacquards to heavy crepe de chine. She makes the fabric sing by brushing dye onto the silk and using water based resist, starch, dye thickeners or a dry brush technique to delineate her motifs.  Salt, alcohol, and sprayed water create texture. Debra’s motifs are primarily botanical and geometric, though she also paints plein air landscapes. She uses her hand painted silk and construct bias cut garments with no side seams using sergers, traditional sewing machines, and hand sewn finishes. She also combines multiple plein air pieces into stunning garments. For the last nine years, Debra has been conducting beginning and intermediate silk painting workshops.

Visit debra's website


For me, working in clay started in college and has been a life long process. I am interested in pottery that is beautiful and yet has meaning in our daily lives through use and function. I find utilitarian ceramics is the best method to express my ideas because pottery is naturally rich in ideas and history through out many civilizations. I am interested in studying the ceramic designs and decorations from ancient cultures in order to develop new ideas by remaking historical forms and surface motifs.

Ann Ferguson grew up in the Carolinas and received a BFA in ceramics and a BS in agriculture from the University of Georgia, Athens, GA. While having a full-time career in agriculture, clay has always been an important part of her life. She worked in community clay studios and participated in local art shows and National Cone Box Shows. She has also participated in International shows in Gaborone, Botswana, Vallauris, France and visited local Onggi potters while working in Incheon, South Korea.


Working with clay is a continual process of listening and responding to the material in my hands, an exercise in patience and persuasion. I am drawn to clay for its malleability and memory, for the way it records the movement of my fingers. I love the evidence of that process made permanent through firing, and the honesty and intimacy of a handmade mark.

I am inspired by the potential of utilitarian forms like cups, plates and bowls, because they are by necessity part of our daily lives. We understand these objects through use, by placing them on our tables, by holding them in our hands. In functional pottery I see an avenue for communication between the maker and the user: the marks my own hands make are in turn read by another person's hands, eyes, and even lips as they put my pottery to use. Through this exchange, I find the means to not merely facilitate the experience of eating, drinking or sharing a meal, but to contribute meaning and thoughtfulness to that experience as well. The right bowl, a beautiful plate, a mug that fits perfectly between hands — these objects make ordinary experiences feel special, and they make good food taste even more delicious.

Dorae Hankin grew up in Northern California and received a BA in Studio Arts from Carleton College in Minnesota, where her studies in the arts led her to ceramics. She has been working with clay at every opportunity since, making primarily functional, high-fired pottery for the kitchen, table, and home. She has shown work in the Perlman Teaching Museum at Carleton College in Northfield, MN, at the Fire Arts Center in Arcata, CA, the Northfield Arts Guild in Northfield, MN, and at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis.

Visit dorae's website


Heather Hillard was not always an artist. Her fascination with animals and the environment led her to pursue a career as a marine scientist in hopes of helping to protect our resources from further degradation. Heather completed a bachelors of science in biology at The College of William and Mary and a masters of science in biology from California State University, Northridge. During her MS degree, Heather studied the effects of climate change on coral reefs and kelp forests. However, throughout her life, she simultaneously built a love for clay and studied ceramics under Jerry Mahle and Marlene Jack. At the end of 2016, Heather began to pursue sculpture full time by working with Julie Anderson in her studio in Colorado and completing a post-baccalaureate year with Scott Parady at Sacramento State University. Heather is currently showing her work in the northern California region.

Now, instead of researching how life degrades under human pressures, Heather explores the intricate, delicate, and subtle relationships between humans and nature through sculpture. She tends to work in two modes: 1) conceptually and 2) intuitively. Her conceptual artwork usually confronts an environmental issue of personal interest, such as climate change or overfishing. When working intuitively, Heather lets her inspiration from nature, often from marine environments, and the emerging shapes, to guide her hands. Inspired by understanding the role of women in our society, Heather’s work is beginning to delve into the oft-forgotten relationship between femininity, harvest, and our natural resources. By combining figures, natural materials, and organic shapes, her sculptures balance realism with abstraction to explore the expected and unexpected connections between humans and nature. Heather is hopeful that her creations will inspire critical thought about how deeply all life, including humans, is connected.

Visit heather's website


I use art as a form of communication where I am in near absolute control of the structure and content of the dialog. It’s a discussion I’m having with myself and with the culture around me. People can use art to talk in ways that aren’t as tangible as spoken or written language but still carry a huge load of content. Rather than letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs, I use an array symbols in the form of figures, colors, icons, and materiality to form a message.

The human body and the concept of a figure are the most persistent symbols in my work. Sometimes its distortion and perspective in relation to itself and other objects are the only essential elements of my sculptures. I see every figure of mine as a generalized self portrait of our culture. Even pieces that seem specific, are made with more consideration of how they have become iconized, than with its depiction of their actual identity.

When not directly present in my sculptures I use objects to either stand in for or suggest a figure; placing eggs on a couch, or using extinguished cigarettes to imply human interaction. Sometimes the distinction between a figure and an object standing in its place aren’t explicit, my various sculptures of monuments and emojis, are both depictions of figures and replacements of figures.

Falsehood and reality of material are extremely important elements in creating dialog in my sculptures. The fact that I used spray-paint to portray gold, fake grass and real oak, in “The Middle Class Achievement Award” are very important to understanding its content. I often use clay to portray clay by sculpting bricks and throwing ash trays, to make jokes about the expectation people have about artwork.

Humor is a consistent quality of my sculpture, and it’s often used to make serious topics palatable… and also because I enjoy it. If I’m going to represent the middle class as a nearly unobtainable goal for millennials, it might as well make me laugh too. Nonetheless considering art as a legitimate means of communication makes the entire existence of this statement completely redundant.

Jacob Miller is a mixed material sculptor working predominately in figurative ceramics, and is currently a resident artist at the Mendocino Art Center. He was originally drawn to the challenging aspects of the wheel and ceramics during high school, and at Illinois Central College. Although his work was always loosely inspired by the human figure, it wasn’t until his time at Alfred University as a BFA student that he addressed the figure directly.

For two years following graduation Jacob returned home to Central Illinois, got a day job as an apprentice carpenter, and started renting studio space. Although it was far from ideal, this post-graduation period gave him a tangible feeling of working class life in America. It also served to give Jacob a good deal of practical knowledge about carpentry and woodworking, which are increasingly integrated in his practice.


Alissa Mittl received her BA in Studio Art and Art History from Florida State University. She has apprenticed for working ceramic artists Sue Tirrell (Pray, MT) and Julie Guyot (Tallahassee, FL), and received fellowships to attend workshops at both Anderson Ranch Arts Center (Snowmass Village, CO) and Penland School of Crafts (Bakersfield, NC). Originally from southwest Florida, her work has shown both locally and nationally. Mittl is currently in her second term as a Ceramic Artist in Residence at the Mendocino Art Center in northern California. Her work can be found at the Mendocino Art Center Shop, Mojo Coffee Gallery (Minneapolis, MN) and in her online Etsy store Mittl Ceramics.

visit ALISSA's website


In the fall of 2017 I began an exploration of landscape as a subject for abstract painting. My art practice had evolved to include a great deal of walking, of being outside, of looking around and attempting to fully absorb light, water and land. In the studio I experimented with ways I might transform these sense impressions into art works using primarily oil paint, cold wax and pigment sticks. I had made some first strong steps in this direction, with paintings of Lassen and Sea Ranch.

When I arrived in Mendocino in January 2018 for the artist in residence program I was drawn immediately to the headlands cliffs. I was soon walking for hours along cliff trails, Big River beach and the seaside areas between Mendocino and Ft. Bragg, forging a deep connection with this rugged, ever changing landscape. During the weeks I spent at the Art Center, these daily walks slowly took the form of paintings, some of which are included in the Artist in Residence Exhibit.

I owe a great deal to the Art Center for granting me quiet time to learn the landscape and space to work with its resonances.

visit sara's website


We look to nature for the reminder that our experience is fluid and sensible in ways we will never understand. We take a step back to find that our growth comes in perfectly spaced increments. We need this, as we exist in the chaotic and exciting emotional present. We need objects and rituals that slow us down. This work is meant to be an anecdote to hurry and a halt to convenience. It's meant to show us the peaceful ticking to a different clock that steadies and supports us. 

– Layne Roytman


Linda Ryan creates by pouring, dripping and tilting Liquitex Pouring Medium carefully mixed with fluid acrylics, and seals the final result with a high quality, UV resistant resin. Ryan has been exploring and pioneering her own methods with this medium for several years.

Previously working solely in highly charged abstraction and her Underwater Ocean Series, Ryan’s intention and works from her time here as an Artist in Residence was to create around the experience of Mendocino and bring her paintings “above the surface.”  The result was a fascination with the local rock formations and the elements that shapes them.

She will be returning to her home in the San Francisco East Bay with the hope of moving permanently to the Mendocino area in the future.

visit linda's website