Category Archives: Art

Sullivan Goss’ monograph Kickstarter begins a full summer of Ray Strong exhibits

From left, Frank Goss, Nathan Vonk and Jeremy Tessmer are producing a book about artist Ray Strong. NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS PHOTOS
From left, Frank Goss, Nathan Vonk and Jeremy Tessmer are producing a book about artist Ray Strong.
NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS PHOTOS

When Ray Strong died in 2006 at age 101, he left behind an admirable legacy. The artist was well-known in Santa Barbara and a thorn in the side of those in power. He was well-loved but had no filter in speaking his mind.

To kick off a whole summer of shows celebrating Ray Strong’s work, a series that involves 11 art galleries and museums throughout Santa Barbara County, Frank Goss, Jeremy Tessmer and Nathan Vonk of Sullivan Goss have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first-ever monograph of this important painter.

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Two artists combine to design Summer Solstice’s new poster

Artists Stacie Bouffard and Pali-X-Mano COURTESY PHOTO
Artists Stacie Bouffard and Pali-X-Mano
COURTESY PHOTO

The first sign of the Summer Solstice Celebration approaches!

In a first, the judging panel for the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice chose two long-time participants and artists as winners of the 2015 poster competition, combining the best of both their designs.

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Artist guides Laguna Blanca students toward an art-filled gala evening

Russell Young touches up finished artwork by Laguna Blanca students. KENNETH SONG/NEWS-PRESS
Russell Young touches up finished artwork by Laguna Blanca students.
KENNETH SONG/NEWS-PRESS

Laguna Blanca art students got a chance to work with a pop artist Thursday when Russell Young – former photographer and music video director, now fine artist – returned to the school for a final class of instruction and inspiration.

The finished work, a mosaic of a peace dove created by Laguna’s sixth-graders, will join other works from other grades that received a visit from Mr. Young.

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States of the art: MCA SB’s Call for Entries show focuses on interactivity and abstraction

"Orchid Beat," Seyburn Zorthian Seyburn Zorthian
“Orchid Beat,” Seyburn Zorthian
Seyburn Zorthian

MCA’s annual Call for Entries intends to be a query on the state of art, 2015, in the tri-county area, a chance to honor a series of artists both new and experienced who are catching that special something in their nets and pushing art forward. There’s a lot of do-it-yourself in the show that’s been dubbed “Out of the Great Wide Open.” There are artists who want their art to be crowdsourced by the crowd, or to be manipulated, built and torn down. But not all in this show are tweaking the audience’s reaction so directly. Others in this exhibition that opened Saturday (and runs through March 29) still present canvases, but are pushing representation and non-representational art into new realms. There’s plenty to explore, and much excitement to be had.

MCA SB wants attendees to know that the exhibition’s artists come from places far and wide and have devoted a back wall in the museum’s educational area to their locations. (It’s a pretty cool map of the Central Coast — check it!). There’s space for the northerner Nick Wilkinson, who works in Los Osos and Erik ReeL, who lives in Ventura, and everybody else in between.

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The healing arts: Cancer Center painting exhibit focuses on work by patients

Artist Joan Price's work will be on display along with pieces by other cancer patients during the seventh annual Art Heals exhibit at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara. The exhibit opens Thursday. MICHAEL MORIATIS/NEWS-PRESS
Artist Joan Price’s work will be on display along with pieces by other cancer patients during the seventh annual Art Heals exhibit at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara. The exhibit opens Thursday.
MICHAEL MORIATIS/NEWS-PRESS

An exhibit of paintings by cancer patients, some who have started creating art for the first time, will open Thursday at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara.

The seventh annual Art Heals is co-sponsored by Sansum Clinic and is the end result of classes hosted by Rick Stich, who has been teaching at the center for 18 years.

Lisa Winebrenner, oncology health promotion coordinator at the center, said the class is not so much about learning art skills as it is about providing patients, many of whom are going through heavy chemotherapy, a place where they don’t think about cancer.

“These are people who are looking for some kind way to work through their cancer diagnosis,” says Ms. Winebrenner. “And Rick provides this two-hour-a-week opportunity to learn some skills. There’s great camaraderie, he has great talent, and it’s an incredible program. … He brings out the best in these people.”

The work will be hung in the halls of the Cancer Center and over the year serves as a revolving exhibit of work, serving as an inspiration to others.

One such artist is Joan Price, 59, whose ovarian cancer returned in August after being in remission for more than 10 years.

She has finished her chemo and is in remission again with a new kind of treatment she takes every three weeks.

Ms. Price has done art on and off throughout her life and was happy to take Mr. Stich’s class.

“It’s a great place for everyone,” she said. “It was really healing for me.”

She wanted to take the class 10 years ago but was too busy as a working executive for the Montecito YMCA. “This time I said, ‘I’m going to work on getting healthy,’ ” Ms. Price said.

The art classes, she said, gave her a place to go where her “head didn’t spin.”

“When going through cancer there’s so many things to worry about,” Ms. Price said. “But when you’re there, everybody else in the class is going through it. You don’t have to talk about it. Some days are good and some days are bad. You just have to show up.”

As executive director of the YMCA, Ms. Price was instrumental in starting the LiveSTRONG program, a series of health and wellness classes for cancer survivors.

She knows the physical side of treating cancer, but the art classes at the Cancer Center focus on the mental side.

Ms. Price paints figures and landscapes and some will be featured in the show. The last time she exhibited in the show, it was a self-portrait called “Embracing Baldness.”

The exhibit is a chance to mingle and take in the art, meet some of the artists, and learn more about the Cancer Center.

There are plenty of misconceptions to deal with.

“They’ll say, ‘So you’re in remission, so you’re done right?’ ” Ms Price said. “No! You’re never done. This is just the new reality.” Ms Price said.

The Art Heals reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Cancer Center, 540 W. Pueblo St. It is free but space is limited, so please RSVP to Stephanie Carlyle at stephanie@ccsb.org or call (805) 898-2116.

John Nava helps turn a Courthouse painting into a large tapestry

A combination of modern technology, classic painting and contemporary art combined on Wednesday to create a brand new look.

The Public Defender’s Office at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse welcomed a tapestry version of “The Landing of Cabrillo,” the 1924 painting by Daniel Sayre Groesbeck (1879-1950) that hangs outside the second floor Mural Room in the same building.

The tapestry was designed and fashioned by artist John Nava of Ojai, who discovered and championed the technology that creates complicated tapestries from photo sources.

The tapestry was a joint venture between the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and the County Art in Public Places Committee, and organized by the commission’s Rita Ferri.

The choice of the Groesbeck painting, Ms. Ferri said, made sense not just because of the history of the work, but because it was “The Landing of Cabrillo” that earned Groesbeck a much larger commission: the entire mural room itself.

It also solved a physical problem in the lobby: bare walls creating so much echo that the people who work behind the desk and its thick glass partition couldn’t hear people talk clearly.

Already there’s a big improvement in the area, with the heavy tapestry, roughly 8-by-11 feet, dampening the sound, Ms. Ferri said.

When she was first asked to look into finding a tapestry for the area, there were problems.

“Unfortunately, older tapestries did not usually survive in good condition but their request led to a creative solution,” Ms. Ferri said.

She called on Mr. Nava, who paints in a classical realist style but in 1999 started working in tapestries.

Through modern computer-based looms, Mr. Nava can send a scan of an artwork, reduce

the millions of color variations down to around 160, and have a sort of “tapestry printer” recreate the work.

The main home for this multi-million dollar machine is at Flanders Tapestries in Belgium. The business mass-produces tapestries and fabrics for large corporations, but they also took on Mr. Nava’s work.

One of his first tapestries now hangs at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, and that was the commission that got him into this side work.

Mr. Nava laughs at the irony that his one piece of work hanging publicly is actually by another painter.

He took a large scan of the painting, “gigabytes and gigabytes size” he said, and not only decided on the palette to be used to recreate the colors, but also decided on the three-dimensionality of the piece. Some sections are raised while others are flat. Threads in the warp and weft combine to make different colors.

Mr. Nava then made tests

and had them shipped from Belgium to check. “You don’t really know the final colors until you see.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Nava was on hand to say a few words at the opening, but he believes the Groesbeck work speaks for itself. It now hangs at a level that invites careful study, unlike the original painting that is hung high above the floor and is dark due to age.

The idea of computer-based looms is an old one, actually. The Jacquard Loom, from the late 1700s, used a digital-like punchcard to program the machine to make patterns.

Mr. Nava said the choice of Groesbeck was a good one.

“He made these bravura, Cecil B. DeMille-like paintings with bold brush strokes, and that translated really well into the weaving.”

The tapestry is permanently on view in the Public Defender Lobby at the Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St.

For more information on John Nava, check out: http://www.johnnavastudio.blogspot.com/

Closing the books MCA asked what will become of libraries in new exhibit

"Lament," Nancy Gifford Joanne Calitri photo
“Lament,” Nancy Gifford
Joanne Calitri photo

There will print be in 20 years? Will people still want to hold books and magazines and newspapers in their hand? Or will they be getting information in other ways? And in whatever future scenario one imagines, where is the place of the library in all this? These are the questions examined with humor and smarts in the new group show “Requiem for the Bibliophile,” which opened last week at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA).

Co-curated by MCA’s executive director Miki Garcia and J.V. Decemvirale, a UCSB PhD student, this collection of seven artists from Santa Barbara, New York, Mexico City and beyond all riff on the idea of the library and by extension the museum as well, both repositories of culture but for what?

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Experimental visions: MCA premieres On Edge Festival, four days of performance art

"Spinning Four," Surabhi Saraf Varun Sharma photo
“Spinning Four,” Surabhi Saraf
Varun Sharma photo

As a frequent attendee at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s “Forum Lounge” over the years, it would be fair to say the events — every First Thursday at 7 p.m. — were unpredictable and just as often brilliant as they were half-baked. Sometimes there were short bursts of stunning performance, clocking in at a friendly 20 minutes; sometimes audiences found they had signed up for two hours. It was an experiment that had run its course in a way, but it was also pointing to something bigger, more consistent, and better defined. The On Edge Festival opens this Thursday, and promises the best of the performance art scene.

In its four days, the Festival, curated by Forum Lounge’s Heather Jeno Silva, will put on productions at MCA, as well as at Center Stage Theater, Municipal Winemakers, the Courthouse Sunken Gardens, and a gallery/event space on Canon Perdido.

Continue reading Experimental visions: MCA premieres On Edge Festival, four days of performance art

Experimental visions: MCA premieres On Edge Festival, four days of performance art

"This World Made Itself," Miwa Matreyek

As a frequent attendee at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s “Forum Lounge” over the years, it would be fair to say the events — every First Thursday at 7 p.m. — were unpredictable and just as often brilliant as they were half-baked. Sometimes there were short bursts of stunning performance, clocking in at a friendly 20 minutes; sometimes audiences found they had signed up for two hours. It was an experiment that had run its course in a way, but it was also pointing to something bigger, more consistent, and better defined. The On Edge Festival opens this Thursday, and promises the best of the performance art scene.

In its four days, the Festival, curated by Forum Lounge’s Heather Jeno Silva, will put on productions at MCA, as well as at Center Stage Theater, Municipal Winemakers, the Courthouse Sunken Gardens, and a gallery/event space on Canon Perdido.

Continue reading Experimental visions: MCA premieres On Edge Festival, four days of performance art