Phoebe Brunner Biography

Glimpse

24 x 18 inches  |  oil on canvas

Phoebe Brunner grew up on one of the original Spanish Land Grant ranchos – a 15,000 coastal cattle ranch near Santa Barbara. Exploring the land on horseback, she absorbed the mysteries and the intricacies of the American Western landscape.

After studying at UCSB, Otis Art Institute, the University at Guadalajara, and Cal Arts, Brunner began to exhibit in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

Over the ensuing forty years, she has developed one of the region’s most powerful voices, exhibiting up and down the West Coast of the US.

The artist herself describes her paintings as "rooted in a real place," but she also describes the creative – or visionary? – qualities she brings to her process. The resulting images speak to profound truths about the California landscape, but they also give the artist license to respond creatively to the theme and the painting process.

Videos

2:49 | Narrated by Susan Bush | Released for PHOEBE BRUNNER: Breathe, 2018

5:04 | Narrated by Susan Bush with Phoebe Brunner | Released for PHOEBE BRUNNER: Further to Fly, 2016

More Information

AN ANALYSIS OF THE ARTIST'S WORK

Clouds, waves, and chaparral undulate against one another in elevated colors laid up in lyrical brushstrokes.  The land, the sea, the very air seem alive.  Brunner’s process leaves a surface that still seems wet, as though the paint must remain pliable enough so that it can continue to move.

If the whole thing sounds rather fantastic, such a reading might not be so far fetched.  A tradition in American Art known as Magical Realism extends back to the late 1930s that describes a somewhat similar style. Typically, Magical Realism slips mystery, ambiguity, or outright fantasy into a scene that is otherwise realistic. For some, the style is an acknowledgement that art must be able to introduce certain fictions to arrive at deeper truths.

What truths might those be in the paintings of Phoebe Brunner? Her work suggests many interpretations, but perhaps none quite so much as the idea that what seems inanimate might actually be animate – that the system of natural forces that act upon the land (meteorology, geology, botany) suggest a life force larger than the sum of its parts. Such an interpretation imbues Phoebe Brunner’s landscapes with mythological import.

The project to ascribe a larger meaning to the landscape, meanwhile, allies her work with a long tradition in American painting, stretching from the Hudson River School paintings of Asher Durand and Frederic Church to the Modernist works of Georgia O’Keeffe and Charles Burchfield.

EDUCATION

California Institute of the Arts (Chouinard)
Universidad de Guadalajara
Otis Art Institute
1972  B.F.A., University of California, Santa Barbara

AWARDS & AFFILIATIONS

2002  Individual Visual Artist Grant, John E. Profant Foundation for the Arts
1992  Gold award, Art of California Magazine
1987  Meet the Artist, Santa Barbara Museum of Art Fellowship
Finalist, General Services Administration’s Art in Architecture Program, San Francisco Federal Building

COLLECTIONS

Glenbow Museum of Art, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Wellington Management Company, Boston, MA and Singapore
Iquantic Corporation, San Francisco, CA
Patagonia Corporation, Ventura, CA
United Technologies, Hartford, CT
Security Pacific National Bank
Allstate Insurance, Safeco Insurance Company, Orange, CA
Four Seasons Hotel, Scottsdale, AZ
Automobile Club of Southern California
Universal Studios, Orlando, FL
First American Venture Capitol, Inc., Indianapolis, IN
Fireman’s Fund, Novato, CA
San Marcos Town Center, San Marcos, CA
Irving Trust Company, Los Angeles, CA
Rossbacher and Assoc., Los Angeles, CA
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles, CA
The Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce
The Barry Berkus Family Art Collection
The Santa Barbara Foundation
The Cancer Center of Santa Barbara

EXHIBITIONS
Solo Exhibitions

2015  San Luis Obispo Museum of Art

2014  Easton Gallery, Montecito, CA

2012  Easton Gallery, Montecito, CA

2010  Elverhoj Museum, Solvang, CA

2010  Easton Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA

2009  Rovzar Gallery, Seattle WA

2008  Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2008  Easton Gallery, Montecito, CA

2007  Sue Greenwood Fine Art, Laguna Beach CA

2006  Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2006  Easton Gallery, Montecito, CA

2005  Sue Greenwood Fine Art, Laguna Beach, CA

2004  Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2003  Easton Gallery, Montecito, CA

2003  Koplin del Rio Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2003  The Jonathan Club, Malibu, CA

2002  Koplin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2001  Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2001  Easton Gallery, Montecito, CA

2000  Koplin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1999  Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1998  Koplin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1997  Easton Gallery, Montecito, CA

1996  Koplin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1995  Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA

1993  Easton Gallery, Montecito, CA

1990  Louis Newman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1974  Comsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1972  College of Creative Studies, University of California , Santa Barbara, CA

Group Exhibitions

2015-2017  Art in Embassies Program, Republic of Namibia , Africa

2014  New Landscapes, Easton Gallery, Montecito, CA

2014  Made You Look, Westmont Ridley Tree Museum of Art, Montecito, CA

2014  Small Images, Atkinson Gallery, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, CA

2013  100 GRAND, 2013, Sullivan Goss, Santa Barbara, CA

2012  New Landscapes, Easton Gallery, Montecito, CA

2011  5x5 Invitational, Westmont Art Museum, Montecito, CA

2011  Winter Group Exhibit, Gallery Bergelli, Larkspur, CA

2011  Essential Landscapes, Elverhoj Museum, Solvang, CA

2010  New Landscapes, Easton Gallery, Montecito, CA

2009  New Works in Oil, Rovzar Gallery, Seattle, WA

2008  Recent Landscapes, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2008  Edge:Santa Barbara County Artists Respond, Santa Barbara, CA

2008  A View from Here: A Group Exhibition of Contemporary Landscapes and Cityscapes, Judson Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2008  Eyes Open, Galerie Eye, Carpinteria, CA

2007  Yonder, Sue Greenwood Fine Art, Laguna Beach, CA

2007  Berkus Family Collection, University Art Gallery, CalPoly State University, San Luis Obispo, CA

2006  Crossing California, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2005  Recent Landscapes, Sue Greenwood Fine Art, Laguna Beach, CA

2004  The Political Landscape, The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2004  Speculative Terrain, Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard, CA

2004  Speculative Terrain, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA

2004  Speculative Terrain, Laband Art Gallery, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA

2004  New Landscapes, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2003  The Jonathan Club, Malibu, CA

2002-2001  Representing LA: Pictorial Currents in Southern California Art, Frey Museum of Art, Seattle, WA

2002-2001  Representing LA: Pictorial Currents in Southern California Art, South Texas Institute of Art, Corpus Christi, TX

2002-2001  Representing LA: Pictorial Currents in Southern California Art, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna, CA

2002-2001  New Views, Koplin del Rio Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2002-2001  Landscapes, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2002-2001  New Views, Koplin del Rio Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2002-2001  Dreamscapes, Wignall Museum, Cucamonga, CA

2000  20th Century Showcase of Santa Barbara County Artists, Elverhoj Museum, Solvang, CA

2000  Native Light, Koplin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1999  Horizons, Hespe Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1997  Curator’s Choice, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Ridley-Tree Education Center, Santa Barbara, CA

1996  New Landscapes, Koplin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1995  Landscape:The Continuum, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

1995  Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA

1995  Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA

1994  Twenty Leading California Landscape Artists, Columbia Club, Indianapolis, IN

1992  Strong Spirit – A Century of Santa Barbara County Landscape Painters, Santa Maria Museum Art Center, Santa Maria, CA

1991  Santa Barbara Artists 1, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

1990  The Art of Love, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA

1990  Louis Newman Gallery

1988  Meet the Artist, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

1987  Eternal Interest: Visions of the Figure, Zolla Lieberman Gallery, Chicago, IL

1987  Fantastic Vision, Simard Halm Gallery, Los Angeles,CA

1987  Julia Morgan Memorial Exhibit, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA

1986  Five Painters, University of California, College of Creative Studies, Santa Barbara, CA

1986  Hollywood Inside and Out, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1986  Wallworks, LA Artcore, Los Angeles,CA

1974  Comsky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1972  College of Creative Studies, University of California , Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA

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