Athenaeum Music & Arts Library Joseph Clayes III Gallery

Joseph Clayes III Gallery


Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue

March 16–May 4, 2019

Opening Reception: Friday, March 15, 6:30-8:30 PM


Longtime San Diego artist Jim Machacek will present his new series of works on paper in his third solo exhibition at the Athenaeum. The title of the exhibition, Music in the Key of Blue, reflects Jim’s recurring interest in the concept of making music visual. Using his favorite media of printmaking, drawing, collage, and watercolor, he hopes to make YOU see what HE sees when listening to music. He chose favorite musical selections that have the word blue in the titles from a wide variety of musical genres, including classical, jazz, blues, country, rock, folk, and standards.


A major feature in the exhibition will be a series of 70 mixed-media painterly prints representing Jim’s visualization of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, a term he appropriated to describe his newest approach to printmaking. He said, “After 42 years of creating pristine editioned prints, I wanted to ignore the print rules and ‘dance’ a little.” Jim will also exhibit several artist’s books, continuing his Music Box Series, which premiered at the Athenaeum in 2007. “Koto Blue,” a traditional Japanese composition, “Dallas Blues,” one of the first published blues songs in 1912, and “Lavender Blue/Lavender Green,” a 17th century English folk tune, will rise up out of their unique containers and float in the gallery air.


Listening to music and seeing the music: during the opening reception Jim’s friend and noted San Francisco pianist, Alex Davis, will play selections from Rhapsody in Blue and other “blue” songs on a grand piano in the gallery.


Machacek has shown in over 100 museums and galleries nationwide and four internationally. His artist’s books are represented in 50 university and library special collections, including the Library of Congress, and multiples here at the Athenaeum and UCSD. He recently retired from SD Mesa College, where he educated a generation of printmakers. He cofounded and was master printer at Bay Park Press, now closed, and looks forward to devoting even more of his time to his artwork.