Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Current, Exhibitions, Featured Artists, Permanent Collection

Back In the pink!


0 Comments 15 December 2014

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Installation view of "Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection," Santa Barbara Museum of Art, August 31, 2014 – January 4, 2015

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Installation view of "Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection," Santa Barbara Museum of Art, August 31, 2014 – January 4, 2015

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Installation view of "Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection," Santa Barbara Museum of Art, August 31, 2014 – January 4, 2015

Currently on view in the Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection (on view through January 4, 2015) exhibition is In the pink (1964), an oil painting by Frederick Hammersley housed in a unique frame made by the artist. This striking painting, in dialogue with pieces produced in years earlier and later, appears just as fresh as the most recent works in the show.

In addition to its visual command, In the pink has a unique exhibition history at SBMA. In 1965, In the pink was one of 41 paintings included in a solo exhibition of Hammersley’s work, along with Left field (1964), which can also be seen in the Contemporary/Modern show.  After nearly 50 years, In the pink is on view at SBMA again, and now a part of SBMA’s permanent collection due to the generosity of the late artist’s foundation.


Left: Frederick Hammersley, In the pink, 1964. Oil on panel, artist-made frame. Gift of Frederick Hammersley Foundation. Right: Installation view of Paintings by Frederick Hammersley, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1965.


Hammersley, one of the four Abstract Classicists who helped father hard-edge geometric abstraction, moved away from this style of painting with works featuring more organic forms. Hammersley explained, “ … something happened there where the hard-edge painting stopped. I don’t remember why or how. But the motor was still running… I had heard about a Jewish painter [Avigdor Arikha] that would do a painting a day…And I thought, ‘That’s interesting. I understand restrictions…I’ll try that.’”[1] In 1964 alone, the artist made over three dozen organic paintings at the rate of one per day.[2]

In the pink is referred to as a “cut-up,” or a work in which Hammersley literally cut an organic painting into square units and reassembled the canvas into a grid. This method effectively merges the artist’s preoccupation with organic forms with his roots in geometric abstraction, creating paintings that are actively fluid yet firmly geometric.

Hammersley was very selective about the frames for his works. As he did often, he constructed the frame for In the pink himself, thus creating a fully cohesive work. The artist was also meticulous in selecting titles for his works; he left behind numerous notebooks of phrases, puns, words, and double entendres from which he drew for titles.

On view until January 4, 2015, be sure to visit the Contemporary/Modern exhibition in the Preston Morton gallery and welcome Hammersley’s In the pink back to SBMA!


[1] Elizabeth East, foreword to Frederick Hammersley: Organics and Cut-ups 1963-1965 (Venice, CA: L.A. Louver Publications, 2014), 5.

[2] Ibid. After this year of organic activity, however, Hammersley continued creating geometric paintings.

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Museum Shop, SBMA Staff

Museum Shop Holiday Gift Guide


0 Comments 08 December 2014

Hunting for the perfect gifts this holiday season? Our Museum Shop Associate Buyer, Erica, picked out her favorite unique and thoughtful gifts for everyone on the list. Continue below to see her choices, and stop by the Shop to see them in person!

For Kids


The Play Book Pack by Home Grown Books ($19.95) with Dress Up Cat ($39.95)

Founded and developed by reading specialist Kyla Ryman, Home Grown Books creates early reading content that’s both mentally and visually stimulating to spur children’s imaginations with simple, supportive text and storylines that appeal to children’s natural curiosity. The Play Book Pack includes nine Little Readers with few words per page accompanied by vivid watercolors and line drawings.



Stuffed “Creatures” and playset by UK artist Donna Wilson ($40 – $100), each sold separately

Whether you choose just one or create a scene, these friendly handmade Creatures are sure to get a smile. UK-based artist Donna Wilson has been selling her unique knitted creations since 2003.






Wee Gallery art cards for babies ($12.50)

Wee Gallery art cards are created from bold, whimsical, hand-painted originals that cater to a baby’s visual strengths. The black-and-white images and their repeating patterns captivate little ones. Use them to play with or as wall decor.




Cubebots stocking stuffer ($8.50 – $25)

Cubebots, inspired by Japanese Shinto Kumi-ki puzzles, are a non-traditional take on the toy robot. They’re the perfect no-mess stocking stuffer for curious creators; the powerful hardwood frame holds dozens of poses while the durable wood limbs make him impervious to breakage. When it’s time to rest, it folds into a perfect cube.

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Handmade Poco A Poco finger puppets ($6.95 – $8.95)

For 25 years Poco A Poco has been offering unique, handmade gifts and folk art from Peru. Find a variety of playful finger puppets for babies and toddlers in the Museum Shop.





Handmade Pearls of Whimsy semiprecious stone jewelry ($120 – $300)

 For Her

Pearls of Whimsy, designed by artist Roxanna Keyani, offers cutting-edge jewelry designs inspired by nature and the lush colors of gemstones. Available in the Museum Shop are a variety of crocheted wire necklaces, bracelets, and earrings using semiprecious stones, pearls, and Swarovski crystals.



Globe bookends ($34)

For Him

A set of globe book ends are the perfect addition to any library. Browse our selection of books and exhibition catalogues to make it a complete gift set!







SBMA Gift Membership

For Everyone

Give the gift of membership! It’s the perfect gift for art lovers: unlimited Museum admission, invitations to exclusive Members-only exhibition previews, reduced or free admission to lectures and special programming, discounts in the Museum Shop and Cafe, and more! Find out more here.


Visit the Museum Shop at 1130 State Street
Monday – Saturday 10 am to 6 pm
Thursday 10 am to 8 pm
Sunday 11 am to 5 pm

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Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures, Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Education, Events

The Art of Giving


0 Comments 05 December 2014

The holidays are here and SBMA Teaching Artists have been hard at work preparing for the annual Holiday Gift Workshop,  for kids ages 5 – 12 on December 13. During this full day of art making, students create unique projects for holiday gift giving, inspired by the current exhibitions Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures and Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection

Jason lantern proto

Lantern inspired by Jorge Pardo’s lamp, Untitled (Sea Urchin) (2012), on view in Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection

Projects include a luminescent lantern developed by Teaching Artist Jason Summers who was inspired by Jorge Pardo’s Untitled (Sea Urchin) (2012) and its blending of art and design. The lantern’s design includes a watercolor shade and glass base glowing through tissue paper, and is built to hold a candle, making it a beautiful and functional gift.

In the pink painted blocks

Hand-painted puzzle inspired by Frederick Hammersley’s In the Pink (1964), currently on view in Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection

For the younger children, Teaching Artist Jessie McCurdy leads in creating a painted block set based on Contemporary/Modern artist Frederick Hammersley’s In the pink (1964). Students paint their favorite animal onto wood blocks, which can be arranged in any number of playful compositions. These play sets use bright color palettes, visible brushstrokes, and distinct shapes for a fun “pop” style.

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Painted block set inspired by Frederick Hammersley’s In the Pink (1964), on view in Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection

For older students, Teaching Artist Itoko Maeno leads a painted block set project using a blind contour self-portrait and a handmade box to house the blocks inspired by the fabric compositions of Lucas Samaras in Reconstruction #107 (1979). Both of these artist block sets take from Hammersley’s rearranged compositions, but they are more dynamic by remaining open to continual movement and play.

animal garland

Fabric garland inspired by Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures

With Teaching Artist Shannon Jaffe kids create a fabric animal garland, inspired by the animals in motion in Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs that are on view in Art to Zoo. However, instead of using a camera, students choose and create the shapes, colors, and positions that make up their compositions.

Holiday gift cards snow

At the end of the workshop, kids create printed gift papers and cards to wrap their gifts.

Wrap it all up with printed gift papers and cards made in Luria Hall with SBMA Education Department’s Kelly Almeida!

All Wrapped Up: The Art of Giving
Saturday, December 13, 9 am – 3 pm
Ages 5 – 12
Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House, 1600 Santa Barbara Street
$65 SBMA Members/$75 Non-Members
To register, visit  or contact Rachael Krieps at 884.6441 or

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1st Thursday, Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures, Current, Events, Public Programs

Felix vs. Fido: You Decide the Winner


0 Comments 01 December 2014

The fur will fly this Thursday evening 5 – 7:30 pm on the Museum’s front steps during Felix vs. Fido! Watch a collection of looped cat and dog videos inspired by the current exhibition Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures and curated by SBMA Curator of Photography Karen Sinsheimer and UCSB Professor of Critical Theory and Integrative Studies Colin Gardner―and then vote for your favorite.

Here to introduce the night’s activities are co-curators for the respective sides are Spiffy, Wallace, and Darwin.

Spiffy Portrait


Hi, Spiffy here (yes, I’m a noun as well as an adjective). Obviously, as a Golden Retriever I’m biased towards the dogs, but I must admit that I’m a bit ambivalent about the whole process. Why is it that dog and cat videos are so popular on YouTube and elsewhere on the web? I mean, people are obsessed by them.

Now, my theory is that it’s because humans love to anthropomorphize their pets and get great enjoyment out of making them do human things while knowing full well that they’re still cats and dogs, with all the lack of domestication that implies. After all, what’s funnier than seeing dogs learning to drive or sitting upright at the dinner table, minding their manners while picking over their food like a critic from Bon Appetit? If nothing else it feeds the vanity of their owners because it shows off what expert animal trainers they are. No one stops to think that we just do it for the treats. What was it Hitchcock once said—“All actors should be treated as if they were cattle”? Or dogs, or whatever…

Actually, speaking as a dog, these videos are not funny at all—in fact they are downright speciesist, directing the human gaze on non-humans to set up a privileged site/sight of scopophilia. How would you like it if we dogs posted videos of humans scratching themselves for fleas, or lifting their leg on a fire hydrant? Of course you wouldn’t, but it’s basically the reverse of what you’re doing to us. Now, admittedly the great Merrill Markoe once wrote a piece about spending the day with her dogs and doing everything they did—the bit where they all scampered to the front door to bark at the mail man was particularly funny. But really, a Golden Retriever tidying his room? That’s unheard of. We may retrieve a chew toy but we never give it back. Now, a Border Collie I can understand as they’re complete control freaks but that video completely misunderstands the fundamentals of dog breeds.

And don’t even talk to me about Bill Wegman’s doggie baseball video. Now, I have a lot of respect for Man Ray and Fay Ray as they helped put Weimaraners on the map. And yes, all the dogs in the video are having a great time but not in the way Wegman thinks. We’re all out there sniffing the air, running around and chasing the ball (by the way, that pitcher deliberately served up a hanging curve just so Bill could hit a line drive and give us something to chase). But let’s face it, he’s the only one who actually cares about the rules. Look at the smug satisfaction on his face as he crosses home plate—you’d think he’d just won the World Series! As for us, we’d rather eat home plate—it’s crunchy!!

What we need here is a new approach that puts an end to speciesist behavior, where the animal-human hierarchy is dissolved in favor of a more horizontal parity. As my great friend Jane, who is admittedly a cat but also extremely smart, says, humans need to adopt a concept of grace, a “stepping aside” that cedes place and space to all species in a collaborative way. I think this is a brilliant idea and needs to be the topic of more videos, particularly…Oh wait, I just noticed. It’s ten to four: dinner time. Gotta go. See, I have them well trained. Until next time—see you at the dog park.




Wallace and Darwin

Wallace and Darwin, here, with our support staff, Karen and Bob Sinsheimer, to report on the upcoming skirmish with Spiffy and other species of the canine variety. We’re ready, however, to take on all species, as “superiority” is simply a matter of perception, from our high-minded, feline point of view.

Karen and Bob have become fairly well-trained, we must say. Though we don’t meow at each other, we’ve learned (Wallace especially) to key the meow cry to that of a hungry baby, so that once Wallace lets loose, either Karen or Bob is at the ready with the pull-tab cans and meals. We, of course, are by far the most specialized in such a sound but we will note the impressive abilities captured in YouTube videos. In the meantime we could use more treats in between meals, but refuse to do “cute” tricks for them…I mean, really.

We do find that pushing things off counters gives us a more commanding and 3-dimensional view of the material on the floor, not to mention that hiding the objects is much easier (wonder where that toy car went?) but far less entertaining to watch our mindless servants (Karen and Bob) aimlessly wonder about in search of things. Fellow cats have taken a likeness to our specialty and have expanded it to pushing items off a wide spectrum of house surfaces. It truly is fascinating and as if a dog could conceive of such a complex concept let alone perform in front of a recording device.

Our human companions do their best to cater to our desires, but training is tedious so we don’t push them. All in all, our staff is fairly responsive and life is pretty good.  We’re conducting more research in between naps and meals, but don’t look for human videos any time soon. Why would anyone want to watch such a lowly species engage in their menial activities especially as they prance around in odd draperies that cover their limbs? We suppose you really have no other options if you lack the fine furs of the feline.

Felix vs. Fido Video Projections
Thursday, December 4, 5 – 7:30 pm
Gather on the Museum’s front steps and watch a curated collection of looped cat and dog videos—from six-second videos to short films and everything in between—curated by SBMA Curator of Photography Karen Sinsheimer and UCSB Professor of Critical Theory and Integrated Studies Colin Gardner. Then cast your vote (Cat vs. Dog) on slips of paper, and see who wins during 1st Thursday!
Museum front steps

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SBMA Behind the Scenes, SBMA Staff

Happy Birthday, Richard West!


0 Comments 26 November 2014

Richard West PS

Richard Vincent West, former SBMA Director from 1983 to 1991

Today marks former SBMA director Richard Vincent West’s 80th birthday. West, who served as director from 1983 to 1991, was born in Prague, Czechoslavakia on November 26, 1934. Originally Richard Cenek Vyslouzil, his name was changed when his family fled Nazi Europe in 1938 to the United States, eventually settling in Los Angles. West received his Bachelor of Arts in Art History from UC Santa Barbara in 1961 and his Master of Arts in Art History from UC Berkeley in 1965. After graduating he became a Ford Fellow for one year at the Cleveland Museum of Art and spent another year at the Albright-Knox Museum. Prior to his directorship at SBMA, West was the director of the Crocker Art Museum for ten years.

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Standing in the Tempest: Painters of the Hungarian Avant-Garde exhibition catalogue cover.

During his eight-year tenure at SBMA he oversaw the completion of the Park Wing, which opened on January 26, 1985, and produced several exhibition catalogues including An Enkindled Eye: The Paintings of Rockwell Kent (1985); Orbis Pictus: The Prints of Osckar Kokoschka, 1906 – 1976 (1987); and Standing in the Tempest: Painters of the Hungarian Avant-Garde, 1908 – 1930 (1991). Museum acquisitions grew significantly under his directorship, both in paintings and photography, particularly in the collection of American Art of the 1960s and 1970s, doubling the collections from 7,000 paintings to more than 15,000. One major acquisition to the collection—the Steinman Collection of Photography (donated by Arthur and Yolanda Steinman of New York in 1983), some 500 photographs from the late 19th century to the 1980s—significantly added to the overall photography collection.

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Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures, Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Current, Exhibitions, Permanent Collection

Holiday Gallery Guide


0 Comments 26 November 2014

Looking for the perfect family activity this holiday weekend? Head to the SBMA galleries! Our curatorial assistants have put together a highlights tour of our current exhibitions to help get you through those post-turkey days, because we know that as great as family togetherness is, it’s not always easy to please everyone.

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Installation view of Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2014

Drawn from the Museum’s permanent photographic collection, the animal kingdom of Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures is on view in the Emmons and Von Romberg Galleries. This exhibition of photographs, many produced by great masters of the medium, offers the viewer the opportunity to explore animal natures, both from an artist’s perspective as well as those of scientific researchers. Viewers are invited to ask questions about animal knowledge and perception, for these photographs remind us that other sentient species possess language and communication skills, respond to forces with highly-developed senses, and indeed feel pain and emotion. One might initially be drawn to the unique and mysterious bromoil print of Gregori Maiofis’ towering bear or the painterly image of Joan Myers’ ageing elephant, but these exquisite photographs of animal subjects also suggest other truths about our fellow creatures.

Meet at the State Street entrance for a free docent tour of Art to Zoo on Sunday at 2 pm. 

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Installation view of Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2014

Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection offers a visually striking selection of painting and sculpture dating from 1958 to 2014 from the Museum’s permanent collection. While earlier works articulate reductive forms suggesting a distinctively utopian view of the future, more recent works inventively reference and reinterpret the past, providing a glimpse into the an ongoing and dynamic dialogue between the two artistic periods. Find Contemporary/Modern in the Preston Morton Gallery.

Meet at the State Street entrance for a free docent tour of Contemporary/Modern on Sunday at noon.


Honoré Daumier, Seule manière de faire poser un enfant avec fruit (The only way to make a child pose: with fruit.). Published in Le Charivari on August 24, 1847, Delteil 1582, Lithograph. SBMA, Gift of Robert M. Light

In Daumier Reveals All: Inside the Artist’s Studio, on view in the Ridley-Tree Gallery, wonderfully mirthful caricatures of Honoré Daumier’s lithographs unmask the stereotype of the Romantic, melancholic artist and offer an entertaining and moreover humorous exposé of the life of the artist at work.

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Claude Monet, Waterloo Bridge, 1900. Oil on canvas. SBMA, Bequest of Katharine Dexter McCormick in memory of her husband, Stanley McCormick

In Degas to Chagall: Important Loans from the Armand Hammer Foundation, also found in the Ridley-Tree Gallery, from the Romanticism of Delacroix to the bold colorism of the Fauves, works by Matisse, Chagall, Degas, Monet, Van Gogh and more late 19th- and early 20th-century masters offer a riveting overview of the changing landscape of art in the budding modern European world.



Contemporary/Modern family guide, available at the Visitor Services desks or in the Family Resource Center

For the little artists in the family, pick up an Art to Zoo animal safari scavenger hunt or Contemporary/Modern “Building Blocks of Art” family guide at the Visitor Services desks or in the Family Resource Center on the lower level to explore as you go. Take some time in the Family Resource Center to learn about our current special exhibitions through hands-on activities that are equal parts science and arts project.


Santa Barbara Museum of Art
1130 State Street
Tuesday – Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm
Closed Thursday, November 27
Open Friday, 11 am to 5 pm

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Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures, Current, Events, Exhibitions, Lecture

Human nature in animal wisdom?


0 Comments 17 November 2014

Animal Wise CoverIf you’ve ever owned a pet, no one needs to tell you how smart, cunning, adaptive, and yes, wise, they are. It took scientists quite a long time, however, to begin to study domestic animals seriously, or to understand just how much other species might know. Gradually, new research began to determine that animals feel pain, they communicate in ways we still cannot completely understand, they develop complex communities, and they indeed have emotions.

Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise, leads us on an adventure into the minds and behaviors of such diverse creatures as fish, parrots, elephants, ants, dolphins, and wolves at 5:30 pm this Thursday in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Mary Craig Auditorium. The sense of wonder we feel toward our fellow creatures, and our attachments to them, unfurl in Morell’s narrative. We hope you can join us to discover just how wise earth’s animals can be.

If you’ve yet to pick up a copy of her book, currently available in the Museum Shop, continue reading below for an excerpt in which Morell describes the behavior of mourning elephants as observed by longtime elephant watchers Cynthia Moss and Joyce Poole.

“In some situations, elephants will move a skeleton’s bones, carrying them with their trunks for some distance before dropping them. ‘It is a haunting and touching site,’ Moss says, ‘and I have no idea why they do it.’

Whenever the Amboseli researchers find an elephant’s remains, they collect the lower jaw so that they can determine the elephant’s age. They leave these jawbones near their camp, and without fail, passing elephants pause to inspect the remains. One time, a few weeks after they brought back the jawbone of an adult female elephant, her family came through  the camp. Every member stopped to inspect her jawbone and teeth, but one individual—her seven-year-old son—stayed behind, feeling and stroking the jaw. He turned it over with his foot and trunk and smelled it repeatedly. ‘I felt sure that he recognized it as his mother’s,’ Moss wrote.

Behaviors like these are strange and compelling—perhaps because they suggest that an elephant is reflecting on someone it cared for and may have loved. It may be why grief in animals strikes us, even more than other forms of cognition, as evidence of a  mind—an awareness of oneself and one’s feelings for others. As Joyce Poole wrote after watching an elephant investigate her mother’s bones: ‘Why would an elephant stand in silence, over the bones of its relative for an hour if it were not having some thoughts, conscious thoughts, and perhaps memories?'” (Morell, pages 149 – 150)

Lecture and Book Signing: Virginia Morell Animal Wise
Thursday, November 20, 5:30 pm
Mary Craig Auditorium
Free for SBMA Members, teachers, and students/$10 Non-Members/$6 Senior Non-Members
Reserve or purchase tickets at the Museum Visitor Services desks, or online at

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Adult Art Studio Class, Education, Events, Permanent Collection

Lilies & Light: The Pond in Printmaking


0 Comments 14 November 2014


Student work from the Adult Art Studio Class “Lilies & Light: The Pond in the Printmaking.”

Last month, 26 adult participants met at Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House to investigate “Lilies & Light: The Pond in Printmaking.” The large, open, and sunny studio offered the perfect setting for the most recent Adult Art Studio Class. Joni Chancer and Gina Rester-Zodrow, SBMA Teaching Artists, offered opportunities for participants to experiment with printmaking on a gelatin plate (an amazingly sensitive and resilient tool) as well as a large press. Prints were often used as a starting point for over-printing—adding color and detail to an original print. Participants also created a large monoprint of a pond, fish, and flowers—without using a press—inspired by working in SBMA’s Asian Art Collection.


Student work from the Adult Art Studio Class “Lilies & Light: The Pond in the Printmaking.”

Participants commented:

A terrific introduction to mono-printing technique. Very user friendly materials and helpful instructions.

What a great class!! Both instructors were informative, well prepared, worked well together and gave clear instruction.

I really enjoyed the space and the flexibility to engage in different aspects of the lessons. Lots of great techniques!

A wealth of information and creative ideas. The instructors created a positive and supportive class environment.


The next Adult Art Studio Class, “How Nature Frames the Landscape: Trees & Leaves, Branches & Twigs,” will be held at the Ridley-Tree Education Center on Saturday, December 6. December is the month for the “sky windows” that are framed by the nearly bare branches of the season. Capturing the interplay of natural botanical shapes against colorful backgrounds is the focus of this class. Works from SBMA demonstrate how various artists integrate foliage (the positive shapes) with the negative space around it to create depth, visual interest, and bold design.

To learn more about Adult Art Studio Classes, visit the SBMA website here.

How Nature Frames the Landscape: Trees & Leaves, Branches & Twigs
Saturday, December 6, 9 am – 3 pm
Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House
$85 SBMA Members/$90 Non-Members
Register online at


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Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures, Current, Exhibitions, Featured Artists, Permanent Collection

“Art to Zoo” Featured Artist: Loretta Young-Gautier


0 Comments 12 November 2014

Loretta Young-Gautier, Running From the Storm, 2000. Gelatin silver print, AP 4. SBMA, Gift of the Loretta Young-Gautier.

Loretta Young-Gautier, Running from the Storm, 2000. Gelatin silver print, AP 4. SBMA, Gift of the Loretta Young-Gautier.

Loretta Young-Gautier is a photographer based in Indian Hills, Colorado. She uses double exposure, negative sandwiching, combination printing, and digital manipulation to create idyllic and sometimes forbidding worlds in her surrealist photographs. Continue reading below for an introduction to her photograph above, currently on view in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures through January 4, 2015.

My black and white photographs blend elements into imagery that transport the viewer into a surreal, yet recognizable, world. Running from the Storm was created in 2000 while visiting an English Shire horse farm near Colorado Springs, CO. In the foreground an Andalusian mare and colt flee, while two powerful Shires in the background gallop at full speed beneath the stormy midsummer sky. Storms of this nature frequently descend upon Colorado this time of year, and are one of my favorite subjects.

The piece is from an ongoing portfolio entitled “Equus.” The work celebrates the horse by drawing on myth, symbolism, and the powerful bond between equine and human spirit. Over millennia, the horse, as an honored mythological and magical being, has pervaded cultures the world over, from the magnificent Arabians in Africa to Andalusian War Horses and Icelandic Ponies of Europe, or Mongolian Ponies and Asiatic Wild Horses to the fiery Appaloosa of North America. The ancient Greek legends of Pegasus, the Celts’ enchanted Unicorn, Ireland’s Tangle Coated Horse, and the Navajo myth of the Sun Father’s Horse all ignite the imagination.

The equine as symbolic entity is undisputed. Horses embody instinctual impulses we often fail to suppress; the taming of a stallion can equate to the taming of perilous emotions. Freedom and power, life and death, insight and inspiration, luck, war and wisdom all ride the horse through the centuries.

It’s said that the horse has done more to expand human culture and power than any other domesticated animal. She has been beast of burden, companion and friend, and has carried us into unknown frontiers and mighty conquests.

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Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures, installation view, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2014

I’ve been photographing the horse for nearly 20 years. Though I myself am not a “horse woman,” I know many horse owners and have visited farms and ranches, and attended several round-ups. Just watching these magnificent creatures stirs my soul. The English Shire is an impressive subject. As a breed of Draft Horse, a heavy horse used for pulling large loads, mares can stand 16 hands high, while stallions measure 17 or more. The Andalusian is considered the original Spanish horse and is known for its sensitivity and docile nature. I love observing the wind stirring long, graceful manes and tails as they gallop freely.

The first images I made of horses were of Arabians. Known for their stately prance and high spirit, they’re among the oldest breeds and the most widely owned among horse enthusiasts. I’ve also photographed the Quarter Horse, Appaloosa, wild Mustang, Morgan, and Thoroughbred, but perhaps the most beautiful, and most difficult to photograph, is the Friesian, also known as the Belgium Black. Again a breed of light Draft Horse, they stand tall and sturdy, and during the middle Ages were used to carry Knights in full armor. Their dark, silky coats absorb the light and make exposure tricky, but their long shiny mane and tail sparkle to create a shimmering display as they prance in full sun.

Indeed, my journey among Equus has been one of delight and inspiration. The horse touches the soul and warms the heart of all mankind, and she will continue to fuel imagination and accompany us down through the ages to come.


See Running from the Storm in SBMA’s current exhibition, Art to Zoo: Exploring Animal Natures. To learn more about the artist, visit her website at

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Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Education, Exhibitions

Teens for Teens


0 Comments 06 November 2014

SBMA Teens Master Class @ RTEC w  Kendall 10-29-14 - 07

SBMA Senior Teaching Artist Kendall Pata supervises teen interns at work.

SBMA Teens Master Class @ RTEC w  Kendall 10-29-14 - 09

An intern works to create a collage for the group's completed work, on view now in the Museum Shop window.

SBMA Teens Master Class @ RTEC w  Kendall 10-29-14 - 10

Teen interns work together to create a non-representational interpretation of the Santa Barbara landscape.

SBMA Teens Master Class @ RTEC w  Kendall 10-29-14

Components of the teen interns' final project, a non-representational interpretation of the Santa Barbara landscape.

SBMA Teens Master Class @ RTEC w  Kendall 10-29-14 - 01

Teen interns work with master artist Jennifer Vanderpool and SBMA Senior Teaching Artist Kendall Pata.

SBMA Teens Master Class @ RTEC w  Kendall 10-29-14 - 05

SBMA Senior Teaching Artist Kendall Pata works with teen interns.

In this seasonal internship program, teens ages 14 to 18 create hands-on art projects with working artists, learn tricks of the trade from art professionals, and gain inside information on how the Museum functions. Each session features a different Museum exhibition, professional artist, and project.

For the fall session interns worked with master artist Jennifer Vanderpool, with mentoring by SBMA Senior Teaching Artist Kendall Pata. Inspired by the Museum’s current exhibition, Contemporary/Modern: Selections from the Permanent Collection, this three-week intensive session explored architecture, color, and shape, and culminated with this installation.

After touring the exhibition and enjoying a presentation of Dr. Vanderpool’s work, interns were tasked with creating a non-representational interpretation of the Santa Barbara landscape, incorporating architectural elements from the Museum as well, which will be on view in the Museum Shop window through November 14. Using selected works from Contemporary/Modern as their guide, interns manipulated cardboard with paint, scissors, and collage to recreate our local landscape.

In addition to this installation, interns developed and taught an art project to their peers during the Museum’s high school event November 4. Their abstract collage pieces were inspired by the same exhibition, specifically the work of Guy Goodwin, Frederick Hammersley, and Lucas Samaras.

For more information about this and other opportunities for teens at SBMA, visit our website here.

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