Main Gallery: There's no place like home 

Probably nothing is more sacred to man than his home. That’s the subject of two exhibits this month at the Main Gallery in Redwood City: "This Place Called Home" and "Give Me Shelter."

The backdrop for these shows is the gallery itself, housed in a 150-year-old John Offerman cottage. The Woodham family, which owns the Victorian, gave permission to artist Marianne Lettieri to use small pieces of the building, including molding and decorative trim as well as artifacts from the basement, in her assemblages for the event.

"This Place Called Home" features works by Lettieri and Ginger Slonaker, both Peninsula artists. Using assemblage constructions and mixed-media painting, Lettieri’s images are poignant, humorous and sometimes satirical.

In some pieces, she has incorporated salvaged architectural elements and parts of furniture. "Dream of the Prodigal’s Son" has a screen door that frames a painting of clouds.
Slonaker works in pastel and paint on gessoed canvas, paper and board. Her paintings, images of childish wonderment and whimsy, are enticing.

Meanwhile, "Give Me Shelter" showcases photography, painting, clay, fiber and paper. Each of the 25 artists participating in the show was given a small, house-shaped block of wood to embellish according to his or her style. Sales of the sculptures will support programs for Hope Enterprises that provide vocational training for youth and for destitute people in Ethiopia.

The opening reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. today; the gallery is at 1018 Main St. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call (650) 701-1018 or visit themaingallery.org.  

Summer events at Filoli

An appearance by Amy Stewart, author of the New York Times best-seller "Flower Confidential" is among the highlights of the upcoming weeklong series at Filoli called "Flowers in the Home." Stewart’s July 19 presentation will be followed by a reception and stroll in Filoli’s cutting garden. The fee is $30 for members and $40 for non-members.

Other activities include: "The Cutting Garden" on July 18; "All About Lavender," on July 19; "For the Vase," July 20; and "Herbs and Veggies," July 21. Children’s activities comprising "The Summer Garden" program are July 20 and 21. For registration information, visit filoli.org.  

While at Filoli, be sure to see the ninth-annual botanical art exhibition on display in the ballroom through July. The collection features highly detailed works by U.S. and international artists. Filoli is located at 86 Canada Road in Woodside. Call (650) 364-8300.

Exploring the Cosmos

San Mateo artist (and writer) Ruth Silnes, 92, painted her "Cosmic Consciousness" series long before actual photos from outer space were made available. Her acrylic and enamel paintings are on display through July 31 at the Caldwell Memorial Gallery in Redwood City.

It is amazing to see how many of the images sent back to Earth by the Hubble telescope resemble Silnes’ imaginings, made decades earlier.

Silnes’ acrylic paintings are on canvas; her enamels are painted on masonite, using techniques that she developed herself, experimenting until she found the image she had visualized.
The gallery is at 400 County Center. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call (650) 591-2101.

jgross@examiner.com

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