After attending the Washington University School of Fine Arts in St. Louis, Mo. (1933-34) and the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles (1936), McChesney moved to San Francisco and obtained a job with the WPA Art Project working on two federal building murals for the world’s fair in 1939. McChesney had his first solo exhibition in 1944 at the Raymond & Raymond Gallery, a collection of watercolors and drawings. With southwestern influences, indigenous flavors and earthy colors, McChesney’s abstracted watercolors and paintings reflect a predetermined clarity of design and tone. McChesney’s most celebrated works, those of his Arena series, executed during his tenure at California State University, Hayward (1958-62), incorporate sand and enamel and drew inspiration from the artist’s love of wilderness and solitude. Arena No. 29 was chosen for first prize in the San Francisco Art Associations Annual in 1960, by Lloyd Goodrich of the Whitney Museum of American Art. McChesney was active in Bay Area Abstract Expressionist movement after World War II, despite not having attended the California School of Fine Arts he brought renewed energy to symbolism and surrealism to the San Francisco scene.
John Natsoulas Center for the Arts
Evenings at the gallery
Visit the Gallery Cafe!
GranCrema Italian Coffee and an assortment of coffee drinks! The gallery cafe is a great first stop before exploring the four floors of art at the John Natsoulas Center for the Arts.
About the John Natsoulas Gallery…
“No gallery in California does more for the arts than the John Natsoulas Gallery.”
Poet and past President of the NEA
“Visitors from out of state might never expect to find one of Northern California’s most ambitious galleries in the university town of Davis . . . But for some years art dealer John Natsoulas has been staging significant shows devoted to less-studied aspects of West Coast art and documenting them with well-made catalogues.”
“Those for whom the San Francisco Beat phenomenon is merely the stuff of legend can get a taste of the real thing in an all-day conference sponsored by the John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis.”
-Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle
"After an unfettered conference in Davis draws attention to West Coast practitioners, a Getty Institute Panel will look at L.A.'s role"”
Los Angeles Times
““I don’t know of anyone else who is doing this level of interdisciplinary collaboration between the visual, musical and literary arts. It’s the great work.”
-Joyce Jenkins, Poetry Flash