Figure Studies exhibition at Western Nevada College

Figure Studies is on display in WNC’s Bristlecone Gallery. (Photo: Phyllis Shafer)

Figure Studies is on display in WNC’s Bristlecone Gallery. (Photo: Phyllis Shafer)

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Decades of demonstrations created while teaching classical life drawing classes comprise CCAI’s exhibition, Phyllis Shafer: Figure Studies, in Western Nevada College’s Bristlecone Gallery. 
A reception for the artist will take place from 5-6:30 p.m. on Feb. 4. The free exhibit is open to the public through April 20.
Even though Shafer is known for her landscape paintings, this exhibition comprises studies made while teaching. None of these works are considered, by the artist, to be finished works of art. Rather, they are studies that were done as teaching demonstrations in her classes. Careful study of the human form is a rigorous discipline and one that can improve observational skills in all artists. What Shafer realized as she explored the realm of figure drawing and painting was that the landscape is really one giant figure. Seeing relationships between the gestures and nuances of the figure very easily relate to the land. There is also something very fresh and inviting about seeing an artist’s unfinished studies. It allows us a glimpse into the working process of the artist. It is our hope that this exhibition provides that behind-the-scenes glimpse into an area of creative expression not normally seen in Shafer’s oeuvre.
Shafer lives and works in the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin region. Although Shafer’s formative years as an artist were spent in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area, over the past two decades she has worked primarily in the American West to develop her own style of landscape painting.
Chris Lanier, professor of digital art at Sierra Nevada University, wrote the exhibition essay for Phyllis Shafer: Figure Studies, which CCAI published as a gallery handout and online archive.
Carlos Ramirez, a Western Nevada College Latino Leadership Academy student, provided a Spanish language translation of the show’s wall text.
The Initiative is funded by the Nevada Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities, John and Grace Nauman Foundation, Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, Kaplan Family Charitable Fund, U.S. Bank Foundation, Southwest Gas Corporation Foundation, Steele & Associates LLC, and CCAI sponsors and members.
The exhibit is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., in the college’s Bristlecone Building, 2201 West College Parkway, Carson City. The drawings will be for sale as a fundraiser for the Capital City Arts Initiative.
For information, visit CCAI’s website at


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