Like many women artists, Angela started painting later in life, after her children were older and the family business was well established. Angela and her husband own a rare bookstore, and she credits the exposure to art books for sparking her interest in painting. Although she studied plein-air painting with Santa Barbara artist, Michael Drury, she is essentially a self taught artist. The Canadian Group of Seven greatly influenced her early work, as well as many of the Santa Fe artists. A trip to the Yucatán had profound impact and motifs of ancient art and popular Mexican art began to appear in her work. Currently her work explores where nature an culture intersect over time and place.
3:05 | Narrated by Susan Bush | Released for ANGELA PERKO: Just Another Pretty Picture, 2020
3:34 | Narrated by Susan Bush | Released for ANGELA PERKO: Relics of Another Eden, 2017
2:55 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for ANGELA PERKO: Earthy Delights, 2015
2:58 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for Angela Perko, 2013
3:34 | Narrated by Susan Bush | Released for Angela Perko, 2011
3:05 | Narrated by Susan Bush | Released for ANGELA PERKO: New Paintings, 2009
In her newest body of work, Angela Perko continues to weave mytho-historical themes and iconography together with brilliant color and intricate design.
The artist’s recurring interest in how women are represented is rendered especially vivid in 10-by-10 inch oil paintings showcasing a female fertility figure from a different historical culture. A few of these are from the ancient Mexican village of Tlatilco (1200 to 200 BC), which means “The Place of Hidden Things.” And that’s the title of Ms. Perko’s ninth exhibition on view through Sept. 26 at Sullivan Goss: An American Gallery.
Art’s responsibility has always been to interpret experiences during trying times; it’s a worthy vessel for our collective remembrances, as well as our trauma. Could there be a more prescient and urgent display of artistic expression in Santa Barbara than Angela Perko’s current show at Sullivan Goss Gallery, The Place of Hidden Things? I doubt it.
Angela Perko is fascinated by precious objects, and her recent series of paintings focuses on ancient female fertility figures. Perko’s paintings are always packed with quiet symbolism and deep layers of meaning; and while her new works acknowledge that women have been constantly reproduced as objects over time—from Paleolithic venus figurines to plastic Barbie dolls—the females showcased here were revered as powerful fertility symbols.
In a year gone topsy-turvy, one tradition has held fast at Sullivan Goss-An American Gallery on East Anapamu Street: the 12th annual “100 GRAND” exhibition and sale, featuring 108 quality works of art for $1,000 or less.
The event continues through Dec. 28.
“The 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,” said Susan Bush, contemporary curator at the gallery.
I had never heard of Angela Perko until recently when I saw Wrapped Lemons apres W.J. McCloskey (above); I had heard of William McCloskey, but couldn't remember how although I did remember why. The elusive artist painted strangely captivating wrapped fruits, a genre he may well have invented.
The artist Angela Perko, also turns out to admire the Canadian artists known collectively as the Group of Seven, artists I've mentioned recently. Perko cites the group, especially its lone female member Emily Carr, as influencing her use of color. She arranges colors fearlessly, as comfortable with dissonance as she is with delicacy. Like the Seven, Perko explored painting through landscape; like McCloskey she was born elsewhere but eventually moved to California.
An oversized magnolia blossoms. A deep green forest vista featuring a solitary dress on a clothes hanger beckons. A white heron perches in a boxed foreground against a striking Japanese garden scene. These inviting and mysterious depictions of garden landscapes by Angela Perko, an area artist and co-owner of Santa Barbara’s Lost Horizon Bookstore, invoke a deeply mysterious sense of sensuality and narrative without simple answers.
For her sixth solo exhibition with Sullivan Goss, area artist Angela Perko draws inspiration from the garden, exploring the places where nature and art meet.
In the ranks of regional painters with some gallery-track record, and therefore public awareness, Angela Perko is perched in a creative corner all her own. A vibrant stylist with nods to art history and no fear of color or formal bump and bustle, Ms. Perko has one of the more instantly recognizable styles of any artist calling Santa Barbara home.
AN ANALYSIS OF THE ARTIST'S WORK
Angela Perko has employed the "Seven's" reliance on bright colors with her own ability to reduce a painting's composition to a field of planes, each celebrating a color which at times is dissonant and at times harmonic to neighboring colors. Despite her efforts to flatten her planes of color, the artist manages to create paintings of remarkable depth and energy. Perko eschews the Group of Seven's reliance on the impact of brushstroke. Her work is characterized by a flat color field with little evidence of brushstroke.
I started painting landscapes mostly to be outside. Painting became my personal dialogue with naure. I was never concerned with accurately documenting a place, instead the paintings were attempts to conjure the essential nature of the subject and my own connection to it.
Generally, the picture plane is flattened to emphasize the relationship between objects and to bring the viewer more closely into the scene. Forms are stylized and colors are enhanced or left pure. Compositions are chosen to create rhythm and balance. The struggle is to obtain unity. It should be balanced, but not quite, precise but not perfect. Life should be sense just under the surface. - Angela Perko
2022 ANGELA PERKO: The Place of Hidden Things, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2020 Not Just Another Pretty Picture, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2017 Relics of Another Eden, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2015 Earthly Delight, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2013 Angela Perko, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2011 Angela Perko, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2009 Angela Perko: New Paintings, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2007 Angela Perko, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2005 Angela Perko, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2004 Face to Face: A Selection of American Portraits", Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2017 Masterworks, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2016 The Arts of Santa Barbara 1875 - 2016, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2015 The Declarations of Independents, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2014 Celebrating 30 Years of Art, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2012 Figuring Out California, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA
2011-2018 100 Grand Show, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA