Any time is the right time to check in on the evolving artistic life of Patricia Chidlaw, one of the finer and more singular painters of note who call Santa Barbara home. But, ironically or not, her work — with its attitudinal and stylistic links to the lonely luster of Edward Hopper’s painting — suddenly feels more timely and emotionally resonant than ever in our current era.
Down through time, easel painting has been invented, reinvented, constructed, deconstructed, put to death and brought back to life again.
Solidly grounded in the historical elements of pictorial representation, Patricia Chidlaw’s approach to painting is vibrantly alive in a new exhibition at Santa Barbara’s Sullivan Goss – An American Gallery. Here, steadfast windows are open to a world of unique and overlooked wonders from California and the desert Southwest.
One of my first outings when the coronavirus lockdown started to ease was to pick up my long-awaited, signed copy of artist Hank Pitcher’s namesake retrospective at Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery in downtown Santa Barbara.
“I always hear people say that in the design for any chair or garment, the inside is just as good as the outside. The idea is to make the experience as immersive, engaging and fresh as possible,” says Divya Thakur of her intentions with her latest curatorial feat—expanding the Museum of Design Excellence (MoDE) to a digital and consequently, global landscape—made possible due to a partnership between the Museum and Google. “Brick-and-mortar museums usually think to convert physical aspects into digital. We are creating exhibits only for the digital platform…something that is tailor-made for the virtual world.”
It was remarkable then — and even more amazing now looking back — that so many important artists came to the desert in the early days.
These artists, whose paintings now garner unimaginably handsome sums at auction, worked “en plein air,” away from their studios, capturing the subtle and ever-changing colors of this unique landscape.
The early 20th century was a time of innocence and exploration in California’s desert wilds. Some painters were driven to escape the ravages of tuberculosis, and others, like Lockwood de Forest, who made 10 documented visits in the very beginning of the 20th century, were drawn by the extraordinary views made glorious by an indescribable yellow light.
Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem,” says A.A. Milne from the popular book Winnie the Pooh. This quote has directly affected the new work of artist Susan McDonnell, who will be showcasing her magical, highly realistic animal and wildlife paintings at Sullivan Goss. While her past collections have explored the intri- cacies of still life, she slowly expanded to include living elements.
No business these days is immune from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, be it ones that fall under industries designated “essential” and those that don’t.
Many in the latter category have resorted to completely digital means to keep going with varying degrees of success, but this isn’t really a viable alternative for Santa Barbara’s many art galleries.
Recently, I asked folks to send stories about animals who had changed their lives. Artist Susan McDonnell sent me her story, told through a painting.
As an explanation for the painting, here is what she wrote:
“In the early 2000s, I lived in a house with a small garden pond. In the late Spring, a Red Darner dragonfly took up residency. I started taking photos at a distance and got closer and closer. Over time the dragonfly let me get within inches and then let me lightly touch its wings. This dragonfly showed up every morning around 10 and patrolled the pond until around 4 pm for about 4 months. We ‘visited’ every day and I spent a lot of time quietly observing and marveling at the dragonfly’s beauty. As you can see from the photo this dragonfly was a bit of a ham.”
Venturing into an exhibition of paintings by Phoebe Brunner, one expects a certain transformative effect, to encounter something of an alternate reality. Land, sky, and reworked art historical references have long been at the heart of her painterly interests, but always under the influence of varying degrees of dream logic.
A RETROSPECTIVE EXHIBITION OF PAINTINGS to commemorate the five decade career of distinguished artist and painter, Michael Dvortcsak, will be on display at Sullivan Goss from February 28th through March 22nd with an opening reception on Thursday, March 5th from 5 to 8pm. The exhibition, A Life's Work, includes paintings from many of Dvortcsak's major series of life work, providing viewers with a snapshot of how his art and career has evovled over the course of his life.
“Art helps,” states Nathan Vonk unequivocally. “It’s there to make you happy. It’s a constant in times of trouble and change, and it’s something that you share with loved ones and friends.”
THE DEEP TRADITION OF CREATION IN RESPONSE TO A SOUL TIE WITH THE LAND will envelop Sullivan Goss on 1st Thursday, February 6th when they open Homestead, their fifth solo exhibition of Meredith Brooks Abbott's work.
Sullivan Goss gets lots of shout-outs in this column, and why not? They have a major show nearly every other month, and one of our top for-profit galleries in Santa Barbara, which is an achievement in itself, just existing for so long, promoting the best of our living artists and representing our past as well.
This is a story which may leave you with more questions than answers. It’s the story of a both obscure, yet acclaimed artist who pushed the boundaries of abstract watercolor paintings. Harvey Leepa did what some critics call his best work during a quarter of a century of seclusion in Montecito.
LIke most art collectors, the Nicholsons – Sandi and Bill – are interesting people. What makes them fascinating is the nature of their collection: All of the work is by women artists.
Nathan Huff's exhibition at the Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara, which runs until 2019 September 24, is titled The Stories We Tell Ourselves. The young Californian artist relies for his visual creations on elements spotted in nature and around him. In this exhibition are gathered works that include certain realities belonging to the plant world (trees, plants but no animals this time) to which are added representations in a reduced model of things produced by man (boats, ladders, etc.).
Monday, July 8, 2019, was the last day to view a collection of landscape painter Ray Strong’s work at the Wildling Museum in Santa Ynez Valley, the day coincidentally, I sat with Patricia Chidlaw in her studio to talk about painting.
Nathan Huff's paintings and sculptures are made of recognizable objects – boats, sails, trees, rocks – but combined in a dream-like way where all defy gravity and encourage you to do so, too. In his solo show "The Stories We Tell Ourselves," Huff brings a selection of works since he arrived in town to teach at Westmont in 2013.
ENGAGINGLY FAMILIAR, YET TEAMING WITH OFF THE WALL DYNAMICS, Nathan Huff: The Stories We Tell Ourselves will be center stage at Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery's 1st Thursday on August 1st from 5 to 8pm.
Barring any unknown knowns and known unknowns, our current most vital exhibition happening this summer is Inga Guzyte's "#rebelwomen" solo show at Sullivan Goss (11 E. Anapamu). And I'm not just hyping it because I wrote a cover story on her for Montecito Journal (cough, cough), but seriously, Guzyte is about to blow up big time, much like her friend David Flores.
Using recycled skateboard decks as her medium, Inga Guzyte (ingaguzyte.com) transforms her passion for skateboarding into sculptural art. Her new #RebelWomen series spotlights women from around the globe - Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Malala Yousafzai, Frida Kahlo - emphaszing their strength, courage, fearlessness, and wit.
Artist Inga Guzyte is lucky. She's been able to turn her three obsessions – skateboarding, art, and woodworking – into a career that is growing step by giant step.
#REBELWOMEN: Celebrates the World's Strongest Women at her upcoming art exhibition at Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara, California, starting June 1st.
How? That's the recurring question attending Inga Guzyte's upcoming exhibition at Sullivan Goss. How did a girl born in communist Lithuania end up in Santa Barbara? How did an exhibition full of shredded skateboards end up on the walls of a gallery known for historic American paintings? How on Earth does Inga Guzyte make these things?
CONTEMPORARY PORTRAITS INFUSED WITH COURAGE… FRESH, EDGY, UNUSUAL. That’s contemporary art when Inga Guzyte is on the creating end. Born in Lithuania, raised in Germany, passionate about skateboarding and creating, and recently returned from time in New York and Europe, she will be opening her first solo exhibition with Sullivan Goss An American Gallery in June.
Dressed in sawdust-coated sneakers and a wide brim fedora, artist INGA GUZYTE can't help but smile at the stacks of old skateboard decks towering over her tiny studio space. "It's definitely time for a bigger workshop," she laughs, before adding: "I know it just looks like piles of old boards, but each one has such a unique story to tell."