Mentors and Makers: The Artists of Westmont College

MENTORS AND MAKERS: The Artists of Westmont College, at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

MENTORS AND MAKERS: The Artists of Westmont College, at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

As part of its continuing commitment to exhibit the work of talented emerging artists alongside important established and historically significant artists, Sullivan Goss Gallery hosts an exhibition of works by the art department faculty of Westmont College. Mentors and Makers: The Artists of Westmont College opens on Dec. 6 with a 1st Thursday Reception from 5-8 p.m. The exhibition remains on view through Jan. 20.

The art department at Westmont College has always had an outsized influence on the art scene of the region. But tucked away in its bucolic Montecito campus, it can be easy to overlook how much concentrated talent is found there. “Currently, Westmont’s arts faculty consists of some of the most intriguing, adventurous, and distinct artists working in and around Santa Barbara, though their work is making waves over a much larger area,” says Curator Nathan Vonk.

Featured artists include:

Scott Anderson received his M.F.A. in illustration from The University of Hartford, and an M.A. in illustration from Syracuse University. His illustration work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, LA Weekly, The Village Voice, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and many others. He has also created numerous book covers for the popular “Who Is” series from the Grosset & Dunlap division of Penguin Books. His work has been awarded and recognized by Communication Arts, American Illustration, the Society of Illustrators New York, the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, and in multiple volumes of Spectrum. A gallery painter as well, Anderson exhibits his figurative work annually with Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Scott Anderson, Wave 2, 2017, 7 x 11," oil on canvas, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Scott Anderson, Wave 2, 2017, 7 x 11,” oil on canvas, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

James Daly focuses on figurative work and classical methods in various genres. Most recently his art has been an exploration of movement, visual memory, and experience in the outdoors. Daly is a graduate of Westmont and UCSB with degrees in Studio art and a Masters in Education. For the last eleven years he has developed a classically based curriculum that follows atelier-style art education for Providence Upperschool and more recently joined Westmont as an adjunct instructor.

James Daly, Haskell's Sunset, 2018, 6 x 8 inches, oil on board, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

James Daly, Haskell’s Sunset, 2018, 6 x 8 inches, oil on board, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Nathan Huff earned his M.F.A. in Drawing and Painting, from California State University Long Beach, and also studied at Watts Atelier School of Art. Huff creates drawing and painting installations that function as freewheeling narratives: personal stories that explore the gaps between visual perception and modes of representation. Huff’s solo museum and gallery exhibitions have been featured at UCR Culver and Sweeney Galleries (Riverside), Los Angeles at D.E.N. Contemporary (West Hollywood), New Media Gallery (Ventura) Minthorne Gallery, (Oregon), and Gallerie View (Salambo, Tunisia.)

Nathan Huff, Skies and Schisms 5, 2018, 22 x 30 inches, gouache on paper, on board, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Nathan Huff, Skies and Schisms 5, 2018, 22 x 30 inches, gouache on paper, on board, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Sommer Roman was born and raised in California. She received her BA from UC Santa Cruz in 2004, and her MFA from UC Santa Barbara in 2014. She maintains a multi-disciplinary practice spanning sculpture, painting, and drawing and teaches part-time at California Polytechnic University (Cal Poly) & Westmont College in Santa Barbara. Some of her recent projects & exhibits include: Left Coast; Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Art, a group exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Out of the Great Wide Open, a group exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara; Artist Residency & culminating solo exhibition, Passage at UC Santa Barbara; Artist Residency at The Squire Foundation, and most recently, In the Woods, Perpetual Youth, a solo exhibit at Ventura College.

Sommer Roman, Sighting no. 542, 2018, 55 x 20 x 26 inches, reclaimed fabric, clothing, pillows, feathers, paint, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Sommer Roman, Sighting no. 542, 2018, 55 x 20 x 26 inches, reclaimed fabric, clothing, pillows, feathers, paint, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Chris Rupp received his BA from Westmont College and an MFA from Azusa Pacific University. While trained primarily as a sculptor, Rupp does not limit his art making to traditional sculptural mediums or even three-dimensional forms. From graphite drawings, to molded plastic, or the use of unconventional store bought materials. His work has been exhibited at the Inland Empire Museum of Art, Biola University, Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, The Channing Peake Gallery, and the Santa Barbara Arts Fund.

Chris Rupp, Dreamers Welcome, 2018, 18 x 30 inches, acrylic enamel paint on coir door mat, on board, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Chris Rupp, Dreamers Welcome, 2018, 18 x 30 inches, acrylic enamel paint on coir door mat, on board, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Meagan Sterling has an M.A. and an M.F.A. in Printmaking from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her work has been displayed in many juried and group exhibitions, from Denver and Peoria to Seattle and Spokane. She says, “The paradox of daily life as safe and comfortable, juxtaposed with its polar opposite—defense against life’s uncertainties—appears to bully the American Dream itself. My art explores images of post World War II Americana where energy and resources were often used to advance comfort and promise safety and well being.”

Meagan Stirling, Everlasting Arms 5, 2018, 16 x 16 inches, Drypoint and Monoprint, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Meagan Stirling, Everlasting Arms 5, 2018, 16 x 16 inches, Drypoint and Monoprint, on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery.

Sullivan Goss – An American Gallery, is located at 11 E. Anapamu St. in downtown Santa Barbara.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 2, 2018.

Seaside Makers Funk Zone Opens

Seaside Makers Collective, photo by Kelsey Crews.

Seaside Makers Collective, photo by Kelsey Crews.

Don’t miss the grand opening of the new Seaside Makers Funk Zone location on Thursday, Nov. 29. This is a great opportunity to support 15 of the best local artisans in one amazing spot—209 Anacapa St. The newly transformed space (formerly Youth Interactive, which moved to a new State Street location) is a curated collection of local art and gifts for bath, body & home, put together by Kristin Fraser of The Grapeseed Co. and Jules Kramer of Jules by the Sea.

Other artisans at the collective include Asher Market, Sarka Photography, Jess Conti Leather Goods, Meadow Rose Photo Art, Blue Planet Eyewear, Whimsea, Mission Canyon Collective, and a beautiful collection of art by Karin Shelton, Pedro De La Cruz, Alana Clumeck, Katie Kramer, Anthony Barbaria and Kelly Clause. In addition, other artists, makers and pop-ups will rotate in and out, starting in December with some amazing one-of-a-kind handbags, jewelry and other special treats.

Seaside Makers Collective opens 11.29 in the Funk Zone, courtesy photo.

Seaside Makers Collective opens 11.29 in the Funk Zone, courtesy photo.

“This is a dream come true to land in the heart of the Funk Zone with this extremely talented group of makers and artists,” explains Jules Kramer, who will be managing the Santa Barbara store.

“The collective will highlight and celebrate the amazing artisans in our community by offering much more than a great place to shop… we will tell the stories behind the makers, and also look forward to hosting Scent Bar parties, pop-ups, live-painting and workshops in our event room space and parking lot,” says Kristin Fraser.  

Fraser opened Seaside Makers flagship store in Carpinteria (961 Linden Ave.) in September 2018. Response from the community was so positive that she partnered with Kramer to open a second location in Santa Barbara.

The shop will host a Grand Opening Celebration on Nov. 29 from 4-8 p.m. to give the community a chance to “meet the makers” in person. Seaside Makers Collective is located at 209 Anacapa St. in the Funk Zone, with parking available in its own lot.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 28, 2018.

Poetics of the Handmade Holiday Market

The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

Looking for a way to “buy local” and support artisans at the same time. Check out Poetics of the Handmade, the third annual local makers market where you can find unique gifts for the whole family.

The market takes place on Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Lower Lodge, local artists’ Hannah Vainstein and Nathan Hayden‘s cool 1920’s carriage house studio between the Mission and the Natural History Museum.

The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

The theme for this year is “Plant, Animal, Mineral,” says Vainstein.  “Our makers include Jalama Dyes which makes naturally plant dyed clothes and bags, Poco Farms goatmilk soap, Shepherdess Hides, ceramics by Polka-Dot-Pottery, Jennifer Morris, Jos Ceramics and Churchill Ceramics. Lindsey Ross will be doing old fashioned tin type photography portraits, plus vintage clothes, handmade homewares and more. This years market will also include a children’s section will an singing circle, and crafts such as wreath making, ornament making and holiday card painting.”

Trust us, you’ll want to go check this one out.

Ceramics by Polka-Dot-Pottery is one of several makers with work for sale when The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

Ceramics by Polka-Dot-Pottery is one of several makers with work for sale when The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

The Lower Lodge is located at 609 Mission Canyon Rd. For more information, visit www.thelowerlodge.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 25, 2018.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art at MCASB

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 - January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 – January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

The new exhibit opening this weekend at Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB), “Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art,” is a series of light-boxes and video animations by Oakland-based artist Kota Ezawa that chronicles some of the most infamous and high-profile museum heists in history. At the heart of this exhibition is a series of images paying homage to the 13 artworks—including those by Degas, Manet, Rembrandt and Vermeer— stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 - January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 – January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

Ezawa’s digital interpretations of the stolen masterpieces are presented to scale and illuminated in light-boxes that serve as modern apparitions of the centuries-old works. According to MCASB, “These technological vestiges are at once copies of the originals, while also carrying the mark of Ezawa’s animated hand. Reduced to flat planes of color, the original paintings take on new life as Ezawa plays with ideas of appropriation and originality.”

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video, Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video, Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Also on display with the light boxes are video works, including a black and white reproduction of the security footage of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist.

“My prior drawings exclusively used photographs as source material. This series for the first time draws upon painting only to recognize that painters before 1850, like Rembrandt and Vermeer, were essentially the photographers of their time. In the absence of photographs, their paintings take on the task of recording reality with the scrutiny and minuteness that we now expect from cameras,” says Ezawa. “In this way, the new series extends my project ‘The History of Photography Remix’ into the pre-photography age of images. In addition, I feel compelled to produce an exhibition dealing with ‘stolen artworks’ because my own process could be regarded as a form of image theft. One could say I’m hoping to steal these images back and give them a new life.”

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video, Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video,
Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery,
San Francisco.

“In the absence of the original works, viewers must rely solely on reproductions of the lost Stewart Gardner paintings. Whether printed in a textbook, projected in a lecture hall, or gathered from Google image search results, artwork reproductions are ubiquitous. In this way, Ezawa asks: what does it mean to be original?” say the Organizers.

Kota Ezawa, Empty Frame , 2015, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox, 24 x 33 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Empty Frame , 2015, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox,
24 x 33 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Ezawa’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at SITE Santa Fe (2017), Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2013), Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite (2012) and Hayward Gallery Project Space, London (2007), as well as in recent group

Kota Ezawa, Munch Theft , 2017, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox, 40 x 50 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Munch Theft , 2017, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox, 40 x 50 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines
Gallery, San Francisco.

exhibitions at Hamburger Kunsthalle (2018); Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2017); Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain (2017); and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2016). Ezawa’s work has earned a number of awards, including the SECA Art Award of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006), a Eureka Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation (2010), and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award (2003). His work is included in renowned collections such as: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Kunsthalle Bremen, among others.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art  was curated by Irene Hofmann and organized by SITE Santa Fe with the Mead Art Museum.

The opening reception is Saturday, November 10, from 6 – 8 p.m., with a special discussion session, “In Conversation: Kota Ezawa with Curator Irene Hofmann,” that evening from 5-6 p.m.  The show will remain on view through February 3, 2019 at MCASB, 653 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, mcasantabarbara.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 9, 2018.

Paths of Gold: Japanese Landscape and Narrative Paintings from the Collection

Views of Itsukushima and Wakanoura (detail), Japanese, Edo period, mid-17th century. Ink, color, and gold leaf on paper; pair of six-panel folding screens. SBMA, Museum Purchase, Peggy and John Maximus Fund.

Views of Itsukushima and Wakanoura (detail), Japanese, Edo period, mid-17th century. Ink, color, and gold leaf on paper; pair of six-panel folding screens. SBMA, Museum Purchase, Peggy and John Maximus Fund.

Choice selections from Santa Barbara Museum of Art‘s extensive Japanese painting collection are on view beginning Saturday, November 10, in the new exhibit Paths of Gold: Japanese Landscape and Narrative Paintings from the Collection.

Traditional Japanese houses were constructed of wood with paper windows and doors, and rice-straw matting (tatami mats) covering the floors. Each room—separated by sliding door panels—was like a virtual blank slate that could be repurposed and redecorated to suit each purpose, and, for certain occasions, could be outfitted with glistening screens and objects of color and gold.

Screens were changed seasonally or commissioned specifically for a celebration, a gathering of like minded friends, or a political assembly. A gilded screen enhanced the ambient light in a room, and at the same time, impressed, or even humbled visitors as it reflected the wealth or status of the patron.

Crows in Early Winter (detail), Kishi Chikudō, Japanese, 1826-1897. Ink and color on gold ground; pair of six-panel folding screens. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree, Priscilla Giesen, and special funds.

Crows in Early Winter (detail), Kishi Chikudō, Japanese, 1826-1897. Ink and color on gold ground; pair of six-panel folding screens. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree, Priscilla Giesen, and special funds.

This exhibition examines the aesthetics of Japanese art within both private and public interiors by showcasing nine folding screens, two scroll paintings, and examples of lacquerware selected from the permanent collection, supplemented by two local loans. Paths of Gold features screens dating from the 16th through the 19th centuries, at the end of which Japan opened to European and American trade.

Among the treasures in the exhibition is a lavishly decorated 17th-century set of three handscrolls, attributed to Tosa Mitsuoki (1617–1691). Painted with exquisite mineral pigments and gold, The Tale of Bunshō narrates a story about the rise of the merchant class and the struggles of women. On display as well are a hanging scroll and screen paintings from the Meiji era (1868–1912), a time when formats and subjects were introduced for the newly-conceived public exhibition hall. Also on display are examples of lacquerware from the collection, decorated with various gold techniques, adding to the multi-faceted painterly splendor in the Japanese interior.

This exhibition is co-curated by Hollis Goodall, Curator of Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Susan Tai, Elizabeth Atkins Curator of Asian Art at SBMA. It is on view November 10, 2018 – February 10, 2019. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is located at 1130 State St. in downtown Santa Barbara. It is open Tuesday – Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with Free Thursday Evenings from 5 – 8 p.m. For more information, call 805/963-4364, or visit www.sbma.net.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 9, 2018.

Pianos Jazz Up State Street

Pianos on State, photo by Art Fisher.

Pianos on State, photo by Art Fisher.

State Street’s got some rhythm in its soul this month with the annual Pianos on State interactive musical exhibit on display throughout October.

In its 9th year, the exhibition will extend from October 2-24,  and feature pianos painted by Santa Barbara-based artists—all of which are available for community exploration, impromptu play and group performances.

This year’s panel received a record number of submissions, according to organizers from Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture. The selected artists include Aviel Hyman, Mahina Martinson, Ariana Meyers, Jack Mohr, Amanda Phillips, Melody Rose, Sheryl Schroeder, Lanny Sherwin and Richard Stokes. Additional community partners working with local students and artists to design pianos include Art From Scrap, the Santa Barbara Public Library Central Branch, The Arts Fund and Youth Interactive.

Pianos on State, photo by Art Fisher.

Pianos on State, photo by Art Fisher.

Helmed by the Santa Barbara Bowl, this program represents a unique collaboration that aims to provide arts exposure for residents and visitors of all ages. “The pianos are a beloved tradition that enhances the cultural vibrancy of Santa Barbara and the downtown corridor. It is a way to engage the community by inviting participants of all ages and backgrounds to experience performing arts in a public space,” says Kai Tepper, Santa Barbara Bowl Education Outreach Program Manager. Additional producing partners include the City of Santa Barbara, Office of Arts and Culture, The Arts Fund, Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative, Downtown Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation and New Noise SB. Many local sponsors and businesses also help sponsor and underwrite costs.

Isaac Hernandez. Untitled. Acrylic paint on piano. Exhibited outside the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. November 7, 2010. ©2010 Isaac Hernandez/IsaacArt.com.

Isaac Hernandez. Untitled. Acrylic paint on piano. Exhibited outside the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. November 7, 2010. ©2010 Isaac Hernandez/IsaacArt.com.

An opening celebration takes place on 1st Thursday, October 4, from 5-8 p.m. as artists traverse the pianos and the Piano Boys perform at the Library’s piano at the intersection of State and Anapamu Streets.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 3, 2018.

Wild Up at SBMA: GRADIENT

The modern music collective wild Upan adventurous chamber orchestra committed to creating visceral, thought-provoking happenings—comes to Santa Barbara Museum of Art on September 27 with a program inspired by Nam June Paik’s TV Clock. Featuring  Violinist Andrew McIntosh, the performance is  about space, light, and the passing of time.

Nam June Paik, TV Clock, 1963/1989. Twenty-four fixed-image color television monitors mounted on 24 pedestals. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by the Grace Jones Richardson Trust, Lillian and Jon B. Lovelace, Leatrice and Eli Luria and the Luria Foundation, Zora and Les Charles and the Cheeryble Foundation, Wendy and Elliot Friedman, and Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree.

Nam June Paik, TV Clock, 1963/1989. Twenty-four fixed-image color television monitors mounted on 24 pedestals. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by the Grace Jones Richardson Trust, Lillian and Jon B. Lovelace, Leatrice and Eli Luria and the Luria Foundation, Zora and Les Charles and the Cheeryble Foundation, Wendy and Elliot Friedman, and Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree.

Situated in front of Paik’s work, four wild Up violinists perform elegant and visceral works by Anahita Abbasi, John Cage, Tashi Wada, and Steve Reich. The event is free, but reservations are required as seating is limited.

wild Up has been called “Best in Classical Music 2015” and “…a raucous, grungy, irresistibly exuberant…fun-loving, exceptionally virtuosic family” by Zachary Woolfe of The New York Times, “Searing. Penetrating. And thrilling” by Fred Child of Performance Today and “Magnificent” by Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times. Over the last eight years, wild Up has collaborated with orchestras, rock bands and cultural institutions around the world.

The performance takes place on Thursday, September 27, from 6 – 7 p.m. at Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State St., Santa Barbara. It is free but please reserve tickets at the Museum Visitor Services desk, or online at tickets.sbma.net.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 25, 2018.

Local Lowdown: Heather James Fine Art Gallery

The future site of the Heather James Fine Art Gallery on Coast Village Road, courtesy photo.

The future site of the Heather James Fine Art Gallery on Coast Village Road, courtesy photo.

Serious contemporary art collectors are in for a sweet surprise this fall when the new Heather James Fine Art Gallery opens at 1298 Coast Village Rd. in Montecito. Husband and wife James (Jim) Carona and Heather Sacre—whose combined names can be found on the walls of prestigious gallery locations in New York, San Francisco, Palm Desert and Jackson Hole—were vacationing in Santa Barbara when they came upon the Coast Village Road location that Carona describes as a “perfect fit” for a museum quality art gallery. “It was an opportunistic situation, but we often do things on an opportunistic basis,” he says.

Set against a backdrop of Spanish-style architecture, the program of exhibitions will echo Heather James’ four other galleries, whose exhibits have included paintings by Van Gogh, several Monets, a masterpiece by Matisse—which achieved one of the the highest prices ever paid at auction—cubist Picasso paintings and a Frida Kahlo self-portrait.

As Coast Village Road gets back on its feet after the disastrous debris flow earlier in the year, Carona says, “We’re excited to be coming to Montecito during this period of time. We had not yet signed a lease when the disaster hit, but had made a verbal commitment and have a lot of confidence in the area.”

Editor’s Note: The gallery’s opening date has been moved to November 2018. The gallery is expected to open by October 1. heatherjames.com

Leslie Dinaberg

This story was originally published in the fall 2018 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Erik ReeL : Zero Point & Rhonda P. Hill Blurred Boundaries: Fashion as an Art

From Erik ReeL : Zero Point.

From Erik ReeL : Zero Point.

GraySpace hosts a pair of interesting new exhibits, both of which open on Friday.

Erik ReeL : Zero Point is the first local solo exhibition in a decade for ReeL, an improvisational non-objective painter. Featuring major new paintings and studies never shown before, GraySpace has coupled ReeL’s solo show with an exhibition curated by Rhonda P. Hill, ReeL’s wife, titled Blurred Boundaries: Fashion as an Art, which will introduce a group of exciting, young, international fashion designers to Santa Barbara.

Two talks, one with Erik ReeL on non-objective painting, and a panel featuring Rhonda Hill and Erik ReeL, will be held during the exhibition (dates to be announced).

From Rhonda P. Hill Blurred Boundaries: Fashion as an Art.

From Rhonda P. Hill
Blurred Boundaries: Fashion as an Art.

Blurred Boundaries: Fashion as an Art spotlights selected work by fashion designers, Tingyue Jiang, Alena Kalana, Susan Tancer and Hera Zhou, who blur the distinction between art and fashion. Hill makes a strong claim for fashion to be considered as a cultural phenomenon that can, in certain forms, be called art—on par with any other visual art. Hill points out that fashion can, in the right hands, consciously work on deeper levels that deal with our consciousness, identity and sense of place within our culture.

Graffiti Cluster bags by Susan Tancer.

Graffiti bags by Susan Tancer.

There will be an artists reception for both shows on Friday, September 21, from 5-8 p.m.

GraySpace Gallery is located at 219 Gray Ave., in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. The gallery is open Friday-Sunday from  1 – 6 p.m., and both shows will remain on view through November 11.

High-style Brooklyn Museum costume collection Charles James, photo by Rhonda P. Hill, courtesy of edgexpo-com.

High-style Brooklyn Museum costume collection Charles James, photo by Rhonda P. Hill, courtesy of edgexpo-com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 20, 2018.

“Storm Reading” Celebration

Storm Reading, courtesy photo.

Storm Reading, courtesy photo.

When Access Theatre’s pioneering play Storm Reading debuted at the Lobero in 1988, it was a ground-breaking piece of theater, which went on to inspire audiences in show after show worldwide for nearly a decade. Part of what made this play so extraordinary is the central character, Neil Marcus, who played himself during the play’s six-year run. Marcus lives with a very visible disability and works hard to represent life in a realistic way that is not focused on the fear of being different.

“The world says ‘You are a spastic quadriplegic.’ I say I’m a dancer. There’s a new movement happening in the world. People are beginning to realize they are more than what they’ve been told they are. The flame is fanned. The fire spreads. Every moment is a new moment to do what’s never been done before,” says Marcus in Storm Reading.

Storm Reading, courtesy photo.

Storm Reading, courtesy photo.

Now a new generation has the opportunity to familiarize itself with the show, when Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation hosts “Celebrating Storm Reading,” an evening with the acclaimed Access Theatre cast (Neil Marcus, Matthew Ingersoll and Kathryn Voice) and Director/Producer Rod Lathim. Along with special guest Anthony Edwards, the cast and creators will return to the Lobero Theatre to take a look back at the impact the play had on audiences and at the sustaining message that art holds the transformative power to heal body and mind. Selected scenes from the show will be staged and scenes from the television version will be screened.

“This year is the 30th anniversary of the debut of Storm Reading,” says Lathim, founder and artistic director of the award-winning theatre company, Access Theatre, from 1979-1996. “Storm Reading was unique because it was created here in Santa Barbara and went on to tour internationally.”

Storm Reading, courtesy photo.

Storm Reading, courtesy photo.

Storm Reading went on to tour through 20 states in the USA, as well as Canada and England over six years, and it garnered recognition from several luminaries in the entertainment world. Maria Shriver interviewed Marcus on The Today Show, and Linda Wertheimer featured him on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” Storm Reading was performed as part of the NBC TV Special “From the Heart” at the Kennedy Center with Access Theatre Honorary Board Member Michael Douglas.

Don’t miss “Celebrating Storm Reading” at the Lobero Theatre (33 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara) on Friday, September 21 at 7 p.m. A VIP reception begins at 5:30 pm. For tickets and more information, visit cottagehealth.org/crhevent.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 19, 2018.