Deborah Oropallo, Milk Men, 2013, Acrylic on Canvas, 62” x 62” Courtesy of Catherine Clark Gallery and the artist
Napa Valley Museum, in collaboration with guest curator and artist, Nancy Willis, is thrilled to present NOURISH, a multi-faceted exhibition that examines the intersection of dining, hospitality and art from Napa Valley to the global community. This will be a unique chance to think about the way we relate to food and dining through the lens of art history and visual culture. An opening reception for NOURISH will take place on Friday, September 18, 2015 from 6-7pm, with general admission tickets for $5. Museum Members Only preview from 5-6pm.

NOURISH is an ambitious exhibition that spans centuries of thinkers and makers who address food, dining and service in their creative output. Work from over 25 artists will be on display including: Kathy Aoki, Gale Antokal, Nikki Ballere Callnan (NBC Pottery), Sue Bradford, Will Callnan III (NBC Pottery), Heather Capen, Zoe Crosher, Richard Diebenkorn, Kim Dingle, Caitlin Williams Freeman, Liz Hickok, Paul Kirchner, Catherine Maize, Robb McDonough, Debbie Miller, Deborah Oropallo, NBC Pottery, Lucy Puls, Gideon Rubin, Meg Smith, Mark Stock, Wayne Thiebaud, Chris Thorson, Michael Tompkins, Nancy Willis, Bijan Yashar and Katherine Zetna among others. In addition to traditional visual artworks, NOURISH will present monotypes created by Napa Valley chefs, and drawings by Alinea’s renowned chef, Grant Achatz.

There is an historical tie between art and gastronomy that ranges from the symbolic representations of Dutch Still Life painting to current artist practices around consumerism and the environment. Artists and chefs continue to satiate, expand, and ignite our imaginations by defying the limits of material restrictions. With molecular gastronomy, chefs like Grant Achatz transform dinner into a conceptually driven experience while artists like Liz Hickok and Deborah Oropallo use food sustenance and the conventions of dining as materials and metaphors in their work.

Artist and curator Nancy Willis, has spent twenty-five years in the Napa Valley making art as well as working in the hospitality industry. Her immersion in both of these worlds is the genesis for the show’s concept and informs the curatorial perspective. Willis discusses her vision for NOURISH:

“As an artist living in the Napa Valley I have had a dual professional life; in addition to a committed studio practice, I have worked nearly every position in restaurants, as a prep chef for an iconic catering company to my current position as a design instructor at the Culinary Institute of America. These experiences have afforded me a unique perspective that has illuminated the perpetuating influence between the two industries and on my own work. With NOURISH, I want to offer a new perspective about where I live and celebrate the beauty, strength and relativity of the arts as a vital source of daily nourishment.”

NOURISH presents an artist’s view of the sensations, activities, details, and conditions that set the stage for a memorable moment. By representing a part of culture that is often unseen or unnoticed, we gain new perspectives on where we live and how we connect on a local and global level. NOURISH is both a reflection and reminder that art continues to have an important place at the table when it comes to the daily production of dining.

About the Curator
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, artist Nancy Willis lives and works in the Napa Valley. Willis received her MFA from SFAI in 2005 and, in addition to a committed studio practice, is an active exhibition curator, educator and advocate. Her work in the food and hospitality industries has influenced the themes of her work, including the series on the dinner table. In 2007, she successfully launched annual Path of the Artist painting tours to France leading artists through an intimate view of Paris, Bordeaux, Bergerac and the Mediterranean with the recent extension of an annual workshop at Sundance. Willis teaches painting and printmaking at the Napa Valley College, Nimbus Arts and the Principals of Design at the Culinary Institute of America/Greystone and San Antonio.

About the Museum
Situated mid-valley in the historic town of Yountville, between St. Helena and Napa, Napa Valley Museum provides unique experiences that enrich the cultural fabric of our community through exhibitions and educational programs. At Napa Valley Museum, explore the connections between our Valley’s environment, culture, history and creative expression. The Museum houses three galleries dedicated to local history, world-class art exhibitions and a showcase space for local artists.

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