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January 23, 2008
By Natalie Savidge
A tattoo can tell a whole life story. It can be a symbol of a person’s interests, beliefs or non-beliefs.
There is a tattoo that reflects the story of Michael Sarich, an artist and a member of the faculty at the University. Called “Devil Girl,” it is good for free admission to the professor’s upcoming art premiere.
The temporary tattoo, drawn for this event by the associate professor of art, is the simplest way to gain admission to the new Nevada Museum of Art exhibition, Like, Love, Lust: Michael Sarich. The premiere for museum members, hosted by Sierra Pacific, runs from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25, at the Reno museum. Tattoos are being distributed throughout campus - and people who would like to attend the exhibit can also pick them up at the Department of Art’s office in the Church Fine Arts Building.
The exhibit opens to the general public Jan. 26 and runs through March 30.
Sarich came to Reno in 1989 to teach drawing, painting and ceramic sculpture. He has become one of the most prolific artists working in northern Nevada today.
Working in a variety of media including printmaking, painting, ceramics and sculpture, Sarich recounts tales of his childhood, past loves and family relationships. Much of the imagery in his work involves religious iconography, double meaning and metaphor. His use of visual representations and practice of mark-making is complex and has evolved from deeply personal to the broadly social.
Sarich said that his work communicates on cultural issues and the identity of culture. “I am a storyteller,” he said. “I use iconography that is taken from symbols that have, in a way, taken too much importance. They’re not bad symbols, just saturation. It’s about the romantic and the innocent that has taken on a strange twist.”
Recurring images in Sarich’s work include a beach ball, skulls, Mickey Mouse, the Virgin Mary, fish, smiley faces, seductive and horned devil women, Darwin’s bird and churches.
Sarich was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease nearly eight years ago. According to friends, critics and himself, he’s doing the best work he’s ever done.
In December 2007, Sarich was selected as one of 25 recipients to receive a $25,000 Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for painters and sculptors. The grant encourages the ambitions of developing artists.
Sarich’s work has been on exhibit in galleries and museums in Germany and Belgium. He has permanent collections in University art galleries, and at the Art Institute of Chicago (the city where he was raised), the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Neb.
Like, Love, Lust: Michael Sarich will be on view in the feature gallery at the museum, located at 160 West Liberty St. in downtown Reno.
The galleries are open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Thursdays until 8 p.m. The exhibit is closed Mondays and national holidays. Admission is free for museum members, $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. For more information, call (775) 329-3333 or visit the museum website listed below.