Capital City Arts Initiative [CCAI]

Exhibition at the CCAI Courthouse Gallery

885 E Musser Street

Carson City, Nevada 89701

Recent Works

Exhibition at CCAI Courthouse Gallery



Carson City, Nevada — In his paintings. Tom Gilbertson creates a visual imbalance between the central floral image and the industrial overlays.


The Capital City Arts Initiative’s exhibition, Recent Works, presents work by Gilbertson at the Courthouse Gallery from June 5 – September 26, 2024. CCAI will host a reception for the artist on Wednesday, June 12, 5:00 – 6:30p.m. with the artist’s introduction at 5:30. The Courthouse is located at 885 E Musser Street, Carson City; the gallery is open Monday – Friday, 8:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.

About his art, Gilbertson said, “My recent work consists of images of flowers layered and commingled with anachronistic line images of defunct mechanical devices and scientific drawings of plant pathologies. Most of the line images were mined from the internet. I sometimes impose a grid onto the plane of the painting, using dots or squares … a reminder that all 2-D artwork is a lie. Watercolor, gouache, acrylic, image transfers, metal leaf, and paper are the materials that I use. The resulting image is initially alluring but upon closer examination is fraught with tension, challenging us to consider our place in the world. The titles I use are in no way meant to influence, direct, or otherwise color the viewers’ experience.”

“I don’t care if the viewer knows what I had in mind when I made it,

as long as they have something in theirs when they view it”

___Alexander Calder


Describing his personal history, Gilbertson said, “I was born in the shadow of ‘the bomb’ towards the end of the first half of the 20th century. Formative events in my life were: the electrocutions of Ethyl and Julius Rosenberg, duck and cover exercises, the deaths of Marilyn, JFK, Martin, Bobby, and Malcolm, the Cuban missile scare….and the Vietnam War. An early memory is drawing in the dirt with a stick, probably at about 4 years old. Drawing has been a regular activity of mine ever since. When I was 17 or so, after reading Sartre’s trilogy, I talked to an army recruiter in the hope of going to army language school. I ended up in French Indochina for 3 years dressed somewhat like a large pickle. I never set foot in the army’s language school, but I did learn to speak Korean and Vietnamese fairly well. I went to college on the GI Bill after I returned to the States ….. worked as a fruit picker, high school teacher, graphic artist, furniture mover, photographer, offset printer, itinerant artist, architectural drafter, art gallery guy, entrepreneur, college professor, gas station attendant, and picture framer. At the dawn of the new century, I snagged the elusive tenure-track teaching job at a small community college near the Mexico/California border. After 12 years there, I retired to a semi-rural area north of Reno and east of the Sierra Nevada mountains. There I pass my days trying to grow food (and weeds) in my garden, watch Scandinavian, French, and UK who-dun-its on TV with my wife Imelda, spend time in my studio, hang out with my dog, Jaxon, pick on my guitar, take short afternoon naps, pull weeds, and try to figure out the meaning of the big questions in life over a good cup of coffee. The shadows and the weeds are as dense as ever.”


Gilbertson earned a MFA at UNLV and a BFA and MA at San José State University.


Chris Lanier wrote the exhibition essay which is available as a gallery hand-out and archived at Lanier is an artist and critic who generally likes to mix things up – words and pictures, video and performance, design, and art. He’s had work shown and published in the U.S., Mexico, England, Japan, France, Canada, and Serbia – and has written for The Believer, HiLobrow, Furtherfield, Rhizome, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Comics Journal. He is a Professor of Digital Art at the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe (formerly Sierra Nevada College). More at


Carlos Ramirez, formerly a student with Western Nevada College’s Latino Leadership Academy, provided a Spanish translation of the show’s wall text.


CCAI is an artist-centered not-for-profit organization committed to community engagement in contemporary visual arts through exhibitions, illustrated talks, arts education programs, artist residencies, and online activities.

The Initiative is funded by the John Ben Snow Memorial Trust, Nevada Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, John and Grace Nauman Foundation, Kaplan Family Charitable Fund, Southwest Gas Corporation Foundation, Steele & Associates LLC, and CCAI sponsors and members.


For additional information, please visit CCAI’s website at