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Phyllis Shafer exhibit to include farm-to-table affair

Phyllis Shafer's Tallac Rex, 2008. Oil on canvas, 34 x 42 inches. Private collection.
Courtesy photo |

TAHOE, Calif. — Phyllis Shafer: I only went out for a walk… opens Feb. 8 at the Nevada Museum of Art, Donald W. Reynolds Center for the Visual Arts, E. L. Wiegand Gallery.

The exhibition celebrates the iconic landscape paintings of Phyllis Shafer, while also carefully examining her early artistic influences shaped by time spent in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. The largest presentation of Shafer’s work to date, the exhibition includes nearly 100 paintings, gouaches, and drawings.

Shafer, a plein air painter based in South Lake Tahoe, frequently finds inspiration in the breathtaking landscapes of the Sierra Nevada. A nod to the creative impetus behind her work, the exhibition title I only went out for a walk… stems from a phrase written by nineteenth century naturalist and conservationist John Muir: “I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out until sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”



“Even when I was living in urban areas, I was using nature to find a way in, and that’s why John Muir’s quote resonates so much for me,” said Shafer. “Nature is a catalyst, and I see it as a metaphor for the human condition. It brings out something deep inside oneself.”

Ann M. Wolfe, Senior Curator and Deputy Director for the Nevada Museum of Art, said Muir’s quote aptly suits both the exhibition and accompanying full-color book of the artist’s work.




“His words not only underscore Shafer’s creative philosophy, but also capture the spirit of the Sierra Nevada that has served as Shafer’s inspiration for so many years,” Wolfe said. She curated I only went out for a walk…, an exhibition assembled from numerous private collections on the West Coast.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Shafer has lived and worked in South Lake Tahoe since 1994. She teaches full-time at Lake Tahoe Community College where she also serves as department chair and gallery director. Shafer is represented by the Stremmel Gallery in Reno, Nev.

Join the Museum for a series of programs and events celebrating Phyllis Shafer:

Read: A fully illustrated book documenting Shafer’s work from the 1980s to the present accompanies the exhibition. Interview by Ann M. Wolfe, senior curator, deputy director,112 pages, hard cover, $40 per copy. Copies available for purchase in the Museum Store.

Dine: Thursday, Feb. 20, 6 p.m. Experience a farm-to-table dinner featuring food from areas often depicted in Shafer’s landscape paintings. Prepared by Chef Mark Estee of chez louie and Campo, guests will enjoy a menu made from locally sourced ingredients and will have an opportunity to meet the farmers providing the evening’s fare. An hors d’oeuvres reception will feature five local farms, first course will be winter squash risotto with black truffle and queso fresco, with entrees of local pork and lamb dishes, roasted winter vegetables, rosemary and garlic potatoes, Little Gem lettuces with sherry dressing. A vegetarian entrée option is available upon request. Dessert platters will offer cheeses, dried fruits, candied nuts, chocolate truffles, mini cookies, fruit and nut bread.

Reservations are $250 per person and seating is limited. Napa chic attire suggested.

Prepaid reservations by credit card are required by Feb. 14, by calling Amy Saathoff at 775-398-7232.

Dinner co-chairs and sponsors are Turkey and Peter Stremmel/Stremmel Gallery and Gigi and Lash Turville.


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