Things are the Thing – GROUP EXHIBITION ‘SPECIMEN’ FILLS THE ARTS FUND GALLERY WITH ‘CABINETS OF CURIOS,’ FOUND OBJECT ART, AND OTHER STRANGE, HERMETIC SIDESHOW DELIGHTS

'Homage to Innocents (detail),' Sue Van Horsen David J. Diamont photo
‘Homage to Innocents (detail),’ Sue Van Horsen
David J. Diamont photo

Greeting visitors to the current exhibition at Arts Fund Gallery, “Specimen,” is a kindly, smiley skeleton placed strategically and without explanation. It seems a combination greeter, sentry and memento mori, all at once, befitting a deliciously bizarre and strangely comforting show about pseudo-science, dead things, decontextualized memories, found objects redirected into the direction of art, and other cultural specimens.

Curator Ted Mills, himself an artist, filmmaker, and also journalist-critic (whose writing is oft-found in the pages of the News-Press) had the notion of collecting left-of-center collectors and assemblage artists. The end result, imposing a bit more weird atmosphere than the Arts Fund Gallery has yet known, is a gathering of radiant junk, artfully constructed “cabinets of curios” and general obsessive oddity, all under one roof.

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They Draw Horses, Don’t They? – Artists gather for a 24-hour marathon art session

Artists Keith Puccinelli, left, Penelope Gottlieb, top right, and Alejandro Casazi prepare for the drawing marathon earlier this summer. Thomas Kelsey/News-Press
Artists Keith Puccinelli, left, Penelope Gottlieb, top right, and Alejandro Casazi prepare for the drawing marathon earlier this summer.
Thomas Kelsey/News-Press

“4 a.m. is when it really starts to get to you,” says artist Saul Grey-Hildenbrand. “That’s when you really start questioning your sanity.”

Doing anything for 24 hours straight is pushing human limits, but there’s a special place for drawing, as a select group of Santa Barbara artists will find out this weekend when Contemporary Arts Forum hosts its first annual “From Dusk ’til Drawn” to raise money for CAF’s budget.

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