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.

Santa Barbara Printmakers Best Impressions at the Arts Fund

Courtesy Arts Fund

Courtesy Arts Fund

Opening on January 9 at the Arts Fund, BEST IMPRESSIONS consists of works by ten artist members of the Santa Barbara Printmakers who were awarded top prizes in recent annual exhibitions organized by the group and juried by art professionals from universities, galleries, and printmaking organizations in our region.

Artists with work on view are David Graves, Yessy Kim, Inés Monguio, Jerilynne Nibbe, Patti Post, Karen Schroeder, Garrett Speirs, Don Zimmerman, Siu Zimmerman and Pamela Zwehl-Burke.

Santa Barbara Printmakers is a group of artists dedicated to producing fine art prints using etching, woodblock, collagraph, linocut, clay, lithography and solar plate processes. Their distinctive marks on paper were produced by hand and press printing, and represent a wide range of artistic expression and techniques.

The exhibition, curated by Don Zimmerman,opens with a reception on January 9 from 5-8 p.m. and extends until February 28. The exhibition will be held at The Arts Fund Gallery, located at 205-C Santa Barbara St. in the Funk Zone. Regular gallery hours are Wednesday-Friday from noon-5 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from11 a.m.-4 p.m.  The exhibition is free and open to the public.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 2, 2015.

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.