Local Lowdown: The River’s Journey

Paintings in the Wildling Museum show The River’s Journey: One Year, Six Artists, 92 Miles include work by (clockwise from top left): Holli Harmon, Pamela Zwehl-Burke, Nicole Strasburg, Nina Warner, Connie Connally and Libby Smith.

Paintings in the Wildling Museum show The River’s Journey: One Year, Six Artists, 92 Miles include work by (clockwise from top left): Holli Harmon, Pamela Zwehl-Burke, Nicole Strasburg, Nina Warner, Connie Connally and Libby Smith.

ONE YEAR, SIX ARTISTS, 92 MILES

By Leslie Dinaberg

SIX LOCAL ARTISTS have pooled their talents around one very big idea—our communal connection to and responsibility for our water resources—uniting their unique points of view in a new exhibit, The River’s Journey: One Year, Six Artists, 92 Miles, on view at the Wildling Museum of Art & Nature through July 9.

Initially joining together to experiment with the lesser-known medium of gouache (an opaque watercolor paint), the group— which includes Connie Connally, Holli Harmon, Libby Smith, Nicole Strasburg, Nina Warner and Pamela Zwehl-Burke—is united in a quest to use their art to inform the public about how the Santa Ynez River and the watershed functions and our indi­vidual responsibility to protect its viability.

Rose Compass artists (L-R): Nicole Strasburg, Connie Connally, Libby Smith, Holli Harmon, Pamela Zwehl-Burke and Nina Warner. After the exhibition ends in July, it will travel later in 2018 to Santa Barbara City Hall and Sullivan Goss Gallery. Photo by Monica Wiesblott.

Rose Compass artists (L-R): Nicole Strasburg, Connie Connally, Libby Smith, Holli Harmon, Pamela Zwehl-Burke and Nina Warner. After the exhibition ends in July, it will travel later in 2018 to Santa Barbara City Hall and Sullivan Goss Gallery. Photo by Monica Wiesblott.

“Originally, I was just enthralled with the medium of gouache,” says Strasburg, who saw the potential through the work of artist Thomas Paquette, who had a wilderness-themed show at the Wildling and also has some paintings in The River’s Journey. As Strasburg dug deeper into the subject matter of the watershed, “it became about so much more than painting the landscape.…I just keep reading and researching and discovering new connections.”

The group, now known as Rose Compass (named for the flower-shaped figure on a map and “like the compass rose, our work reflects our individual points of view”), is very dedi­cated to the project. “The three devoted plein air artists have gone out every single Monday for the past two years to paint the water in the area,” says Strasburg.

Libby Smith, Measuring Stick, Alder Creek.

Libby Smith, Measuring Stick, Alder Creek.

They routinely post their musings and progress on the project on the website (rose-compass.com) and are working to secure additional venues to showcase the breadth and depth of their work on The River’s Journey, which visually brings to the forefront questions of stewardship, preservation and conservation.

“Art starts the conversation while providing education and information that can change behavior and expectations at a pivotal moment in our new paradigm of water resource management,” says their collective artist statement. “When artists, scientists and water managers work together, we create a powerful and compelling message that moves the community to make better ecological and civic choices. Awareness, conservation, stewardship and collaboration will all be key to the new paradigm of protecting this resource and ensuring the longevity and viability of our entire community.”

Wildling Museum of Art & Nature is located at 1511-B Mission Dr., Solvang. For more information, call 805/688-1082 or visit wildlingmuseum.org.

Connie Connally, Turkey Vultures.

Connie Connally, Turkey Vultures.

Nicole Strasburg, River Path, Santa Ynez.

Nicole Strasburg, River Path, Santa Ynez.

Holli Harmon, Yellow Kayak.

Holli Harmon, Yellow Kayak.

Nina Warner, Gibralter Dam.

Nina Warner, Gibralter Dam.

Pamela Zwehl-Burke, White Rock.

Pamela Zwehl-Burke, White Rock.

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

100 GRAND at Sullivan Goss (ART FOR $1,000 OR LESS)

100 grand at sullivan gossLooking for something special for an art lover (or yourself)?  Sullivan Goss Gallery’s annual 100 Grand exhibition is the place to shop. Featuring 100 quality works of art for $1,000 or less, the exhibition has become well known as “an incubator of emerging talent, an entryway for beginning collectors, a holiday celebration in the art community, and an ever timely reminder that everyone’s life is improved by the addition of original works of art.”

The exhibition officially opens on 1st Thursday in December (12/3) and is one of the area’s must-attend events of the year. The 100 GRAND show features paintings, drawings, photographs, assemblage and sculpture by emerging and established artists. Contemporary Curator Susan Bush was able to secure work from many of last year’s best-selling artists, but there are also 17 new artists who have never before shown with Sullivan Goss.

Artists on view include: Meredith Brooks Abbott, Benjamin Anderson, Scott Anderson, Sean Anderson, Kit Boise-Cossart, Ken Bortolazzo, Aron Bothman, Liz Brady, Lisabette Brinkman, Phoebe Brunner, Pat Calonne, Chris Chapman, Patricia Chidlaw, Cathy Clemens, Connie Connally, Maria Costa, Tom de Walt, Jeanne Dentzel, Joseph Di Sipio, Alia El-Bermani, Kathleen Elsey, Pamela Enticknap, Peggy Ferris, Kee Flynn, Pausha Foley, Jon Francis, Valori Fussell, Rosemarie Gebhart, Nancy Gifford, Dane Goodman, Robin Gowen, Ruthy Green, Skye Gwilliam, Jason Hadley, Bay Hallowell, Holli Harmon, Derek Harrison, Jim Hodgson, Ingrid Holden, Cynthia James, Frank Kirk, Mary-Austin Klein, Kathleen Klein-Wakefield, Philip Koplin, Marilee Krause, Dan Levin, Mark Lozano, Laurie MacMillan, Larry McAdams, Sara McCook-Woodburn, Virginia McCracken, Susan McDonnell, Barbara McIntyre, Svetlana Meritt, Julie Montgomery, Theil Morgan, Zoe Nathan, John Nava, Jon Ng, Lisa Pederson, Angela Perko, Chris Peters, Hank Pitcher, Ian Putnam, Maria Rendon, Joan Rosenberg-Dent, Lindsey Ross, Blakeney Sanford, Susan Savage, Marie Schoeff, Susan Shapiro, Lanny Sherwin, Elena Siff, Nicole Strasburg, Marlene Struss, Tracey Sylvester-Harris, James David Thomas, Susan Tibbles, Dug Uyesaka, Thomas Van Stein, Sarah Vedder, Deborah Veldkamp, Nina Warner, Roe Ann White, Monica Wiesblott, Paige Wilson, Vani Winick, Karen Zazon, Abigail Zimmerman and Michele Zuzalek.

The opening takes place on 1st Thursday, December 3 from 5 – 8 p.m. at 11 E. Anapamu St.

 

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on December 1, 2015.

100 GRAND, 2014: (100 WORKS FOR $1,000 OR LESS)

Sullivan Goss 100 GrandIt’s that time of the year again: the sixth annual 100 GRAND exhibition at Sullivan Goss.Featuring 100 quality works of art for $1,000 or less, the exhibition has become an incubator of emerging talent, an entryway for beginning collectors and a holiday celebration in the art community.

Last year, almost a thousand people attended over the course of the evening.  December’s 1st Thursday at Sullivan Goss has become one of the area’s must-attend events of the year- a chance for artists and collectors to get together, network, and celebrate the accomplishments of another year in art.

The exhibition runs from December 4 to February 1, 2015, and features paintings, drawings, photographs, assemblage and sculpture by emerging and established artists that are priced to sell and sized (for the most part) to fit into smaller spaces.  For this year’s exhibition, Contemporary Curator Susan Bush was able to secure work from many of last year’s best-selling artists, but there are also more than 20 new artists who have never before shown with Sullivan Goss.

Since its first come first serve, buyers are encouraged to arrive early and to act fast.

ARTISTS INCLUDED:  Meredith Brooks Abbott, Benjamin Anderson, Scott Anderson, Ken Bortolazzo, Aron Bothman, Liz Brady, Lisabette Brinkman, Phoebe Brunner, Pat Calonne, Chris Chapman, Dorothy Churchill-Johnson, Connie Connally, Jeanne Dentzel, Mehosh Dziadzio, Naneki Elliott, Kathleen Elsey, Pamela Enticknap, Peggy Ferris, Kee Flynn, Jon Francis, Valori Fussell, Nancy Gifford, Dane Goodman, Robin Gowen, Amanda Grandfield, James Taylor Gray, Ruthy Green, Bay Hallowell, Holli Harmon, Tracey Sylvester Harris, Derrek Harrison, Wyllis Heaton, Cynthia James, Jow, Scott Kahn, Philip Koplin, Mary-Austin Klein, Marilee Krause, Elizabeth Ladacki, Dan Levin, Mark Lozano, Laurie Macmillan, Larry Mcadams, Virginia McCracken, Susan McDonnell, Svetlana Meritt, David Molesky, Zoe Nathan, Lisa Pederson, Angela Perko, Chris Peters, Hank Pitcher, Ian Putnam, Erik Reel, Maria Rendon, Brad Reyes, Joan Rosenberg-Dent, Blakeney Sanford, Caren Satterfield, Susan Savage, Marie Schoeff, Susan Shapiro, Lanny Sherwin, Elena Siff, Leslie Lewis Sigler, David Skinner, Nicole Strasburg, James David Thomas, Susan Tibbles, Dug Uyesaka, Taj Vaccarella, Sarah Vedder, Deborah Veldkamp, Tom de Walt, Nina Warner, Vani Winick, Roe Ann White, Monica Wiesblott, Abigail Zimmerman and Michele Zuzalek.

The opening artist reception is 1st Thursday, December 4 from 5 – 8 p.m. at Sullivan Goss Gallery, 7 E. Anapamu St. in downtown Santa Barbara. To see a video about the exhibition click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 2, 2014.

Small Images 2014 at SBCC’s Atkinson Gallery

Small ImagesThe Atkinson Gallery hosts the 30th annual Small Images exhibition juried by Tif Sigfrids of Tif Sigfrids Gallery in Los Angeles. A juried competition featuring regional artists working in all media, the exhibition’s only constraint is size—all works must be 18” or smaller in every dimension. The diminutive scale of the works necessitates both intimacy and concision resulting in a dynamic exhibit that invites viewers to “take a closer look.”

The Atkinson Gallery was tremendously pleased with the enthusiastic response to Small Images from artists this year. The exhibition gathered an unprecedented amount of attention even before opening, with 372 pieces by 177 different local artists submitted for consideration. This was a significant increase in participation from the 246 pieces by 121 artists received in 2013.  From these submissions, Sigfrids selected 39 works from 29 artists including Esther Alinejad, Adrienne Allebe, Penny Arntz, Pamela Benham, Kit Boise-Cossart, Linda Branch, Phoebe Brunner, Lynn Coleman, Ralph Corners, Rob Decker, Rick Doehring, Benjamin Eckert, Elizabeth Flanagan, Diane Handloser, Holli Harmon, Marilyn Kandus, Fredda Leiter, Sara Lytle, Laurie MacMillan, Patrick McGinnis, George Sanders, Nicole Strasburg, Iben Vestergaard, Tio Vivo, Stephanie Washburn, Dorene White, Bill Woolway, Samah Yasin, and Pamela Zwehl-Burke for display.

Awards, including a $1,000 first prize, will be announced at 5:30 p.m. during the opening reception. This year’s exhibit is made possible with generous support from the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation.

Opening reception in October 3, from 5-7 p.m.

Exhibition will be on view from October 3–31.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 28, 2014.

Sullivan Goss Celebrates 30 Years of Art

Painting by Meredith Brooks Abbott

Painting by Meredith Brooks Abbott

Congratulations to Sullivan Goss. The iconic gallery is about to turn 30 and is celebrating with a special exhibition Sept. 4-Nov. 30.

To celebrate, the gallery will present an exhibition of each of the gallery’s currently represented artists. Signature examples by each of these artists will be on view with stories of the gallery’s history. In addition, the gallery will exhibit photographs of many of its greatest patrons by local photographer Stacey Byers.

"Foothill Images," Nicole Strasburg, 2013. Oil on birch panel.

“Foothill Images,” Nicole Strasburg, 2013. Oil on birch panel.

Artists included in this exhibition are Meredith Brooks Abbott, Anders Aldrin, Ken Bortolazzo, Colin Campbell Cooper, Leon Dabo, Lockwood de Forest, Edgar Ewing, Anya Fisher, Jon Francis, Don Freeman, Sidney Gordin, Robin Gowen, Richard Haines, Lyla Harcoff, Betty Lane, Dan Lutz, Nell Brooker Mayhew, Ben Messick, John Nava, Hank Pitcher, Frederick Remahl, Nicole Strasburg, Jean Swiggett, Sarah Vedder, Grace Vollmer and Howard Warshaw.

Sullivan Goss is located at 7 E. Anapamu St. in downtown Santa Barbara.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 3, 2014.

Sullivan Goss Presents 100 GRAND, 2013

100grand2013smallIn what has quickly become a favorite Santa Barbara holiday tradition, Sullivan Goss presents the fifth annual 100 GRAND exhibition, curated by Susan Bush and featuring 100 WORKS OF ART FOR $1,000 OR LESS. 

Opening on 1st Thursday (December 5) and running through February 2, this exhibition has become “an incubator of emerging talent, an entryway for beginning collectors, a holiday celebration in the art community and an ever timely reminder that everyone’s life is improved by the addition of original works of art.”

100 GRAND features paintings, drawings, photographs, assemblage and sculpture by emerging and established artists that are priced to sell and sized (for the most part) to fit into smaller spaces. Contemporary curator Susan Bush was able to secure work from many of last year’s best­selling artists, but there are also 17 artists who have never shown with Sullivan Goss before.

Featured artists include: Will AdlerSean AndersonMeredith Brooks AbbottErik BergKen BortolazzoLiz Brady, Lisabette Brinkman, Phoebe BrunnerChris ChapmanCarlyle ChaudrucConnie ConnallyJoann DufauMehosh DziadzioPamela EnticknapPeggy FerrisPriscilla FossekNancy GiffordDane GoodmanRobin GowenJames Taylor Gray, Ruthy Green, Jason HadleyJames HapkeHolli HarmonTracey Sylvester HarrisDerek HarrisonKristen HawkesCynthia JamesScott KahnMasha KeatingPhilip KoplinMary­Austin KleinDan Levin, Mark Lozano, Clare LittleLaurie MacmillanVirginia McCrackenSusan McDonnellDavid Molesky, Jennifer MosesAmalia MouradZoe NathanHank PitcherLisa PedersenRafael PereaAngela PerkoKimberley Pratt­-ShiberIan PutnamPaula ReErik ReelMaria RendonBrad ReyesJoan Rosenberg­-Dent, Jourdan Ross, Lindsey RossCaren SatterfieldSusan Savage, Susan Shapiro, Elena SiffLeslie Lewis SiglerBarry SpacksNicole StrasburgMarlene Struss, Makeda Tekle­-Smith, James David ThomasSusan TibblesCasey UnderwoodTaj VaccarellaSarah VedderDeborah VeldkampRoe Ann WhiteMonica Wiesblott and Abigail Zimmerman.

Sullivan Goss—An American Gallery is located at 7 E. Anapamu St. For more information click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on November 29, 2103.

Leslie Dinaberg Sits Down With Erika Carter

Artist Erika Carter (courtesy photo)

Artist Erika Carter (courtesy photo)

Downtown Santa Barbara’s 1st Thursday events have grown into a popular hive of art, music and wine, and few spots are buzzier than Erika Carter’s Studio 3 East gallery, (http://www.erikacarter.com/) located at 3 East De La Guerra Street above Starbuck’s. Here Carter, a Santa Barbara native, talks with Leslie Dinaberg about living an artful life.

Leslie Dinaberg: What are you working on now?

Erika Carter: It’s a holiday show. It will be the third annual show for Donna Asycough and myself … this one is “Arbol de Vida” which is the “Tree of Life.” … The paintings I do are all retablos; those are the little tin devotional paintings, folk art. …This year I’ll be doing 100 of them.

LD: Wow.

EC: Yeah, I know. It’s a lot of work. Donna and I are both just very passionate about Mexico. We can’t get enough of it.

LD: How do you psych up to do 100 paintings?

EC: It’s insane. I get all the tins out; I prep them all at the same time. Most of them are collage transfers, so I take photographs, transfer them, and do some things. … This is all collage, this is all photo transfer, and then I paint on it too as well, so it’s a mixture. I’ll go and I’ll photograph like crazy and then I’ll come back and start looking at my images, start laying them out and then I get to a point where they all get started. They’ll all be to a point where there will be 100 of them sitting there and I’ll start cranking and it will be 10 hour days.

LD: And do you primarily paint here in the studio?

EC: This is it, so it will be a mess in November. It’s very sad for the artist (Melissa Gill) showing here in November.

LD: There’s something kind of cool about that because most gallery space isn’t studio space.

EC: No. This was originally a studio space, that’s all it was, and for me to survive and have a studio space which of course wasn’t as big as it is now, was to start doing shows to help pay the rent, which has been really great. I would do a show, have a few friends, and hang some artwork for the weekend. Then people started hearing about the gallery space and it grew and now I’m booked through 2009.

LD: Wow. That’s awesome.

EC: Well it’s awesome and it’s not awesome because it’s a lot of responsibility for the next year. It’s a little scary because of economic times. … We break even; no one is getting rich up here, it just pays for itself. When I have my shows I make money. I’m lucky because my stuff sells, but that’s when I make money because I keep my 50 percent. So I try to do two to three shows a year and that kind of pays me, then the rest of the year the shows that we have up pay for the space, and sometimes it does pay more.

LD: Do you also do events? It’s such a cool space.

EC: Yes, we’ve done lots of private birthday parties here and stuff like that, so that’s great. On 1st Thursdays we have a liquor license too, so we sell lots of wine–that helps.

LD: So have 1st Thursdays helped your business?

EC: Yes. I think it’s great exposure. It’s definitely daunting at times because you know how fast three weeks goes by. I’ve got to take down a show, put up a show, it’s really hectic. It gets really crazy. And I just signed up for another year of it.

LD: So you’re obligated to be open.

EC: Yes. We’re open Tuesday through Saturday 12 to 5 and obligated just to the artists that have shows here. They’re all painting right now for their upcoming shows. It’s kind of a scary time. It’s like wow, I hope we sell something.

LD: Maybe people should stop investing in the stock market and buy art.

EC: Well it’s funny; I was just talking to somebody about that. … It is where people should invest. I mean it’s a good investment compared to the stock market.

LD: The pieces are one of a kind.

EC: Yeah, exactly. It exists, it is what it is, and it usually almost always holds its value. And you’re enhancing your living space, or your attic. Whatever.

… (Running the gallery) it’s been great, what I’ve learned is invaluable. Every aspect, working with groups of artists, getting to know all of the artists in Santa Barbara, being part of that. That’s a hard thing to break into.

LD: But you’ve been an artist in Santa Barbara for a really long time.

EC: I have. But it’s really easy for me to just close my doors and sit in front of my canvas and not talk to anybody for weeks. Even though I’ve been painting here forever and ever, it’s very easy to get locked into your own little world and talk to maybe two artists. You know of all the other artists but you’re not really communicating. It’s much different when you actually have created a space and now you can actually show their work. They just come to you and it’s been great. I mean the art I’ve seen and the people, it’s all been really great.

LD: Prior to this did you have a studio somewhere else?

EC: No. I’ve been here almost 20 years. … When I moved in here this was lower State Street. Paseo Nuevo did not exist. When I moved in here everything was shut down around us, everything was boarded up, my rent was $250 and it was that little teeny room over there. … Nicole Strasburg (http://www.nicolestrasburg.com/ ) was in the unit over there and Liz Brady (http://www.lizbradyart.com/ ) was here too, she had my little space and some tattoo artist had been there. When I moved in the room was tattooed, the ceilings and beer cans, it was so hideous.

LD: It’s totally cool now and has a very different feel from most galleries.

EC: That was kind of the point too. I don’t like walking into galleries. I never have. I’ve always felt that they’re too reserved; it’s just a little too snooty or elitist. I don’t have that problem now, but when I was much younger I just felt really intimidated. For a long time I just used to show in coffee shops, which is still great. I still encourage people to do that. Just hang your art wherever you can in this town.

LD: Have you always wanted to be an artist?

EC: No. Isn’t that funny. I never thought I was talented enough to be an artist. I don’t even really call myself that now. It’s kind of a stretch. It’s not a stretch because that’s what people need to title you something, but it’s definitely something you’re always trying to achieve. You’re hopefully always getting better and getting more secure with your work. Some paintings you make and you’re like wow, I did that. I can’t believe I did that it’s amazing and then other stuff you can spend two weeks on something and go holy sh*t I can’t paint. What was I thinking?

Vital Stats: Erika Carter

Born: Santa Barbara (St. Francis Hospital) on October 25, 1962.

Family: Husband Dr. David Dart; son Carter, age 20; five adult stepchildren and their six children.

Civic Involvement: ” I look at it as my civic duty is that I am showing local artists and allowing them to either start their careers or continue them.”

Professional Accomplishments: Artist, owner of Studio 3 East gallery.

Little-Known Fact: “I’m not high energy at all (laughs). A lot of people think that I am. They think that I’ve just got tons of energy and I’m not. I fight for my energy, definitely. I love a good nap in the middle of the day.”

Originally published in Noozhawk in October 2008. Click here to read the story on that site.