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Finley Center spotlights underground artists

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For years, underground art shows like Kaleidoscope, Gallery and the Well-Fed Artists League have thrived in Santa Rosa at nightclubs, abandoned storefronts and private houses, and though all have merited mention in these pages, official recognition proved elusive—until now.

"Altered" is a group exhibit at the Finley Center sponsored by the city of Santa Rosa, and its lineup is a who's who of artists who usually show in under-the-radar get-togethers replete with loud DJs, cheap beer and, sometimes, skateboard ramps. Its aesthetic is determinedly outside the usual Sonoma County confines, but as the city's Elaine Gutsch says, "We're definitely excited about more experimental stuff."

"Altered" features work by Ricky Watts, whose spraypaint art and cityscapes have earned longtime acclaim; Adam Springer, who paints large-scale Lichtenstein-like situational imagery; Saif Azzuz, owner of Pleasant Skateboards, who has a contagious cartoon-like artistic approach; Roman D'Argenzio, host of the monthly Kaleidoscope series; and Sean Nichols, a reliable presence at Gallery whose dark themes contrast with fine lines. "This is, I feel, kind of extreme for the city," says curator Rafa Fujii. "But I feel like it's gonna be something exciting and new."

Fujii says despite their history of showing underground, the artists in the show are excited for the exposure, adding, "A lot of people that wouldn't go to these underground shows are going to be able to see what we've been doing for years now."

"Altered" runs Nov. 20–Dec. 20 with an opening reception Nov. 29, 5–7pm, at the Finley Community Center. 2060 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa. 707.543.3737.

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