Kaneko Gallery remembers former ARC professor


An art piece by James Albertson titled "Table Land/On the Edge" is being showcased at the Kaneko Gallery. The current show in Kaneko is dedicated to Albertson, an art professor who died before the fall semester began. (Photo by Noor Abasi)

Joseph Daniels

When he first discovered late American River College professor Jim Albertson’s paintings, art professor Mick Sheldon said that his initial reaction was that he hated them. However, he said he grew to love them after they stuck in his mind for years.

Albertson died from natural causes in July. He had lived in Sacramento since 1989 after living in Oakland. He received his master’s degree in fine arts from California College of Arts and Crafts.

ARC’s James Kaneko Gallery, curated by Sheldon, is hosting an art show dedicated to Albertson through Sept. 17.

“He was the smartest man that I know,” Sheldon said. “Jim Albertson knew everything about art.”

Albertson’s work was described by several faculty members as having roots in realism, but often his work would appear dream-like, and even possess nightmarish qualities.

Kewpie dolls and African art could also be seen playing frequent roles in Albertson’s his work as well.

“He would be the guy who would drag in a box filled kewpie dolls, because he would collect kewpie dolls from the state fairs and carnivals, and he would collect African art,” Sheldon said.

Art professor Jodi Hooker agreed with Sheldon’s high assessment of Albertson.

“If I was out on second Saturday, and I would see him and his wife at a gallery, hearing his comments about the work, and the questions that he asked and the thoughts he had about the work of any artist out there were just super spot on, and intriguing and very bright,” Hooker said.

Some of the art professors said that Albertson was the type of professor who did not just teach students new concepts, but professors as well.

Because of that quality, Sheldon said that he believed Albertson should have been teaching at a university instead of a community college.

“He would give you two cents about movement that was happening, or maybe about a work that everyone was looking at,” said Mattson. “I always felt he was always going to be a wealth of information, and a wealth of knowledge.”

Video by Noor Abasi