Intrigued by a way of life that is “so remarkably different from that lived by the other six and a half million people in the Bay Area, one that has been passed down from one generation to the next, AND where people have intimate relationships with the land and with animals,” local schoolteacher and photographer Matt O’Brien set out to record and celebrate East Bay ranching. The resulting photographs will be on display in the Bedford Gallery at the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts from January 16-March 10. Titled On the Land, the exhibition includes three bodies of O’Brien’s work created over 12 years: “Back to the Ranch” is a study of East Bay ranching and the effects of urbanization on the ranching community; “On the Land” is an exploration of the open spaces of the East Bay and the diversity of life those lands support; and “The Valley Weeps, The Valley Dies” is a look at Dougherty Valley, a beautiful California grassland that was ranched for 200 years and is now being carved up and paved over for an 11,000-home subdivision. Bay Nature readers are invited to the opening reception on Wednesday, January 16, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The Center is located at 1601 Civic Drive in Walnut Creek (four blocks south of the BART station) and is open afternoons Tuesday-Sunday and evenings Thursday-Saturday. For more information, call (925)295-1417.
Bay Nature magazine ◦ January-March 2002