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Livermore artists and wine culture celebrated in new gallery exhibit

Tri-Valley artists share appreciation for wine at the Bankhead Theater

Livermore Valley Arts will be celebrating the Tri-Valley's wine culture and history with work from local artists and creatives. The new exhibit, titled "Ferment," to be displayed at the UNCLE Credit Union Art Gallery at the Bankhead Theater will showcase work about fermented and distilled drinks, vineyards, and still life. 

The exhibit's opening reception will be complete with wine, sourdough bread tasting and live music. Residents looking to attend the gallery exhibit can view the work from Aug. 4 through Oct. 2. The opening reception of the exhibit will take place on Aug. 6 from 1-3:30 p.m. 

"The Ferment art show is a chance to express appreciation for this great wine-producing area," said artist Judy Rice. "I applaud the Bankhead for promoting the creativity of people who are fortunate to live in this beautiful valley." 
 
Rice creates watercolor paintings and will have her work featured in the gallery alongside several other local artists.

"Exhibits such as Ferment give artists a chance to express themselves and share their art with the local community," said Rice. "Exhibits give me the opportunity to experience the creativity of fellow artists." 

Ferment will feature work from artists of all mediums, one of which is photography.  

"I think it's a good opportunity for people who love wine and are excited about wine to learn about the winemaking process," said Rosa Fierro, whose photography work is featured in the exhibit. "It's a really unique learning opportunity just noticing the beauty of winemaking outside of the actual wine."

Fierro explains that her photographs come from a process called racking wine in which the wine is taken from a tank to another receptacle, this produces wine lees. 

"The wine leaves left at the bottom of the tank would always leave different patterns and so I would photograph them," said Fierro. "They were just really unique and the reflection of the sun or the light on the bottom of the tank left these fiery images." 

In addition to photographing the wine, Fierro owns and runs Rosa Fierro Cellars, a winemaking facility located in the Livermore Valley. 

"The community of Livermore Valley is really incredible. As a winemaking community, it's a very collective culture," said Fierro. "I'm really looking forward to seeing it and all the different art ways that people document their love for wine."

Erika Richert, a Livermore resident of almost 30 years, is a fine art artist who primarily works in the medium of acrylic painting and will also have work displayed at Ferment. 

"I'm happy to be a part of anything that Bankhead does and creates," said Richert. "It's wonderful to be part of a vibrant art community which I think Livermore is." 

Richert's piece at the gallery depicts a man with his cats drinking wine. "His cats are not letting him relax -- which is of course why he needs a glass of wine," said Richert. 

"I like the ambiance of the whole thing," said Richert. "Bringing a drink into a still painting signals people having a good time relaxing, settling down and soothing themselves." 

She emphasizes that her main field is expressionism and this is what inspires her paintings. 

"I always appreciate an opportunity to show at the Bankhead," said photographer Barbara Nichols Reynolds. "It's a wonderful place (it's) open so often where the public can just walk in and look and I really appreciate that."

In addition to having work at the Ferment art show Reynolds is the founder of the Livermore spring art show, Celebrate Women. 

"I appreciate the interaction between the colorful leaves and the blue purple grapes, I think it's a nice interaction," said Reynolds. "What's really beautiful is that the sun is twinkling off the leaves and there is even a lot of gold in that picture. The sun gives a lot of beauty to the image." 

Reynolds encourages others to pick up a camera and try photography, and is grateful for supportive people around her who did the same for her. 

"The most favorite part of the whole thing for me, is simply taking the picture," said Reynolds. "I enjoy the framing of it as I'm taking it so that's important to me." 

For more tickets and more information about the Bankhead Theater Ferment art exhibit, visit livermorearts.org