Eighteen works that have been germinating for at least three years will finally be seen just in time for Spring in the debut solo exhibition for Maria Rendón at Sullivan Goss. Vivid colors, biomorphic forms, and other visual cues recall the sensations associated with the mountains, the ocean, the cliffs, and of course, the Spring bloom in Santa Barbara. Time is not static in these paintings, though. These are not Spring landscapes or Winter landscapes or even landscapes that record the meteorological phenomena of these last several years. Instead, we are offered abstractions of expansive, cyclical time that have been condensed by the artist’s slow and deliberate process.
Maria’s process involves intuition, patience, and circumspection. She values mystery, delight, and depth.
She paints on paper and panel. Layers of acrylic and flashe ebb and flow to create variegated surfaces that are largely devoid of the telltale trace of the artist’s hand. These surfaces are sometimes unified by color, though. They may wander, but then they converge. Ultimately, they form the shapes that the artist assiduously records in the drawings she makes from specimens collected on her hikes. Rain water is sometimes added. Pools of paint are made to form, some of which are directed, while others meander. When Maria lifts the panel, color runs downhill. Some of these streams are allowed to dry. Others are mopped up, so to speak, or even peeled up. None of this is necessarily evident when you look at the final paintings, however. All that’s left are textures, wet media blooms, and passages of pentimento – the ghosts of gestures past.
For curator Jeremy Tessmer, this imparts a deeply spiritual quality to the work. Maria’s surfaces record creation and destruction. They show time itself. Thematically, they deal with Nature’s endlessly rolling wheel of life and death, where neither fire nor drought can ever forestall the triumphant return to life and beauty. The rain always returns. The sun always rises. Rainbows glow and the flowers bloom. In Christian art, these themes are represented as the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. In Maria’s paintings, the narrative is left implied and the figures remain liminal – always in transit between their two states of being.
“My paintings are inspired by the elements of the natural world. Through the collaboration between my observational drawings of nature, my deliberate marks, and the unexpected and generous behavior of water and paint, my desire is to make paintings that resemble nature’s forms, its sensuality, its mystery, its cycles, its precariousness and its resilience.” - Maria Rendón
ABOUT THE ARTIST: Maria Rendón was born and raised in Mexico City where she received a BFA from Universidad Anáhuac. She received her second BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and completed her MFA at the University of California Santa Barbara in 2014. She has shown with the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, the Atkinson Gallery at Santa Barbara City College, the Art Design and Architecture Museum at UCSB, California State Long Beach, Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s McCormick House, and Santa Barbara County’s Channing Peake Gallery. Sullivan Goss began its first important project with the artist in 2013 with an exhibition called JUST BETWEEN US: Wesley Anderegg, Rafael Perea de la Cabada, and Maria Rendón. Her work is featured in New American Paintings #123, Graphis #355 and Taschen’s book, Illustration Now! Maria currently serves on the Board of Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara as an artist advocate. She lives and works in Santa Barbara, California.
5:32 | Jeremy Tessmer & Maria Rendón
A NEW KIND OF WHEEL TURNS THE CLAY OF THESE ARTISTS, challenging the galaxy with the melding of new and ancient arts, as the parched earth opens its arms to Patrick Hall & Lynda Weinman: Kindred Spirits and Maria Rendón: Rain, two new exhibitions recently opened at Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery.
A funny thing happened on the way to the reopening of downtown Santa Barbara following the COVID-19 crisis. For years, if not decades, Santa Barbara artists have lamented the fact that, despite a preponderance of distinguished fine art collections in the city’s proliferation of lavish domestic spaces, collectors have — with few exceptions — tended to purchase their art elsewhere. Now it seems that, along with what has been described as a significant backlog of unfilled orders for new furniture, there is something of a rush to collect art through Santa Barbara galleries and, in many instances, by Santa Barbara artists.
Case in point: Maria Rendón’s solo debut show at Sullivan Goss Gallery, Rain, which opened on Thursday, April 1, is well on its way to an 80 or even a 90 percent sell-through rate, with the largest (and most expensive) works promised to buyers before they hit the gallery walls.