The Moment Gallery

editor@sierrastar.comJuly 2, 2013 

The Moment Gallery, featuring 10 artists, held an open house and artist reception June 30, but unlike most art galleries, this one includes a women's boutique featuring lingerie.

The gallery, at 40680 Highway 41, just north of The Days Inn and the Kings Vintage Museum, currently displays 75 pieces of art including mixed media, oil, acrylics and water color paintings and photography.

"This gallery, raises the bar for fine art in the area," said Mariposa mixed-media artist Charlene Rice.

Gallery owner, Jeffrey Otto, who lived in San Francisco for six years, said the gallery reflects the influence the city had on him.

"We have brought in some incredible artist's work and are showing them off in a vibrant and artistic atmosphere," Otto said. "The theme of this gallery is love. I've tuned out all the negative in the world and this gallery reflects that."

Prior to opening the gallery, Otto, a credentialed school teacher, has been cutting and milling wood for 30 years.

"It's been a long-time dream of mine to sell my art and have my own gallery," Otto said.

The galleries first artist-in-residence is Rivka Schaffner, who taught art for 10 years at Yosemite High School. She now holds master degrees in art and art education.

Schaffner's "graffiti" is not the tagging graffiti found in cities on the side of walls and traffic signs, but instead is art pieces full of many intricate details.

"I paint in the post-pop surrealist graffiti style," Schaffner said.

Her career includes teaching English and art in Japan, illustrating 52 children's books, and was in charge of color for Saturday cartoons for eight years for DIC Animation City.

Schaffner was excited to be at the opening.

"I woke up breathing today ... rock on ... time to paint," she said.

Other Mountain Area artists represented in the gallery are Ernie Reda, Charlene Rice, and Otto himself. He created the beautiful 2 X 6 1/2-foot metal-sculptured door in the gallery, titled "The Planetary," featuring the sun, other planets and a 50s retro spacecraft.

Los Angeles and Bay Area artists include Alexandra Kube, Steve Seifert, Carlos Nieto III, Michael Wicks and Gina Bronzini Ahrens.

Landscape artist Seifert, has been visiting the Mountain Area since her was a teenager, tent camping with his family.

"I've always been a big fan of Oakhurst and Bass Lake," Seifert said. "And now, I feel really lucky to be a part of this fantastic gallery."

Artist Kube, said artists around the world are starving for venues.

"Artists need walls to hang artwork and we are thankful Jeffrey has provided the opportunity for us in Oakhurst," Kube said.

A separate room at the gallery features Intimate Moment, a women's boutique featuring lingerie and stylish dress and pump shoes, managed by Melissa Marino.

Lingerie brand names include Sophia B, Hustler and Affinitas, with shoes from Stella, Wild Diva and Bumper.

Otto said people have asked him why he has lingerie in an art gallery and his response is women and art are synonymous in his mind.

"We're a true lingerie store with clothing for every body type and style," Marino said.

The gallery has a small stage and Otto is currently booking entertainment including musicians, singers and dancers and plans 'open mic' nights in the near future.

Music was provided during the grand opening by Jean Butterfield and Scott Stouder.

Otto said a fundraising fashion show is being planned for early August.

Otto said he is currently accepting application forms from sculptures and three-dimensional artists to feature in the gallery.

Hours of the gallery have tentatively been set for 2 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, and 2 p.m. - 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday.

Details: (559) 642-6428, themomentyosemite.com, theintimatemoment.com.

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