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ÒDivided Farmlands,Ó an acrylic painting by R. Khilnani, will be part of a new exhibit opening Friday, Jan. 4, at the Pacific Grove Art Center.

A group exhibit of the works of three local artists as well as studio artists and children's art will kick off the new year at the Pacific Grove Art Center.

Liz Maruska's "Color on Fire," bold, beautiful landscape paintings celebrating nature's power and majesty (David Henry Gill Gallery); Paola Berthoin's "Passion for Place," tender and soothing landscape paintings with a global vision — art of the Carmel Valley watershed, river and ocean (Nadine Annand Gallery); and Abstract 7's "Geography/Geometry," features a collective of seven artists whose contemporary abstract work includes painting, photography, printmaking, assemblage and sculpture (Elmarie Dyke Gallery).

In addition, there will be works by Pacific Grove Art Center's studio artists Dante Rondo, Julie Brown Smith and Robert Lewis (Louise Cardeiro Boyer Gallery) and works by children in the center's children's art programs.

"The early opening on Jan. 4 will give art lovers something fun to look forward to immediately after all the hustle and bustle of the holidays," said Alana Puryear, art center executive director. "Our selection committee chose these three shows to reflect the beauty of the natural world, featuring both representational and abstract works of art.

"These exhibitions are fine examples of more traditional landscape, contrasted with bold painterly works and contemporary abstraction.



Puryear said the committee is composed of various PGAC board members and studio artists that meet several times a year to decide the artists who will exhibit at the center.

Maruska has been influenced by American landscape painters of the 19th century and trained at Stanford with art pioneers of California, including the abstract expressionist Frank Lobdell, and figurative painter and printmaker Nathan Oliveira.

Maruska also studied art at Smith College, her work has been exhibited throughout California and the East Coast and can be found in many private collections. She has been awarded numerous civic projects, most recently a public transit system in San Luis Obispo where she has wrapped a number of city buses in her work.

Berthoin's art is about love of the land and sharing with others a commitment for healthy watersheds. The natural world has played a significant part in her outlook on life and, thus, contributed deeply to the appreciation of the natural systems that we all depend on.

"Paola Berthoin has lived in Carmel Valley since 1965 and shares her love of the land through her thoughtful, evocative landscapes," said Puryear. "Liz Maruska also celebrates landscape, but with bold, vibrant expression."

Abstract 7 was formed in 2011 and includes artists Chris Ehlers, Yao-Pi Hsu, Rajiv Khilnani, James Ong, Donna Orme, Zoya Scholis and James Thomas.

According a statement by the group on the current show "Geography/Geometry," "Members approach the theme in intellectual, emotional, conceptual and intuitive ways. Each artist represents his/her interpretation in a signature style and medium. Viewing the range of works is a journey into seven different minds expressing the natural world through non-objective form."

"The nice thing about these shows is that with the variety displayed, there is art that appeals to many different tastes," said Puryear. "These paintings and photographs provide a viewer with reason to pause and appreciate the magnificence of the world around us to be sure, and also to appreciate the creative inspiration of the artists."

The works will be up until Feb. 14 and will be open for viewing during regular center hours: noon-5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

·What: Group art show featuring works by Liz Maruska, Paula Berthoin, Abstract 7 collective and more
·Where: Pacific Grove Art Center, 568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove
·When: 7-9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4; through Feb. 14
·Tickets: Free and open to the public
·Information:, 375-2208