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Sullivan Goss – An American Gallery presents their third exhibition for Santa Barbara based painter, ANGELA PERKO. Springing on to the local scene about a dozen years ago, Perko’s extraordinary vision has quickly helped her to become one of the primary artistic voices in the community. Her vividly colored abstractions of landscapes, still lifes, and figures recall the works of Georgia O'Keeffe, Henrietta Shore, and Stanton MacDonald-Wright – early modernists who helped define the trajectory of Modern art in the teens and twenties. Indeed, it is as if she has taken up their project, drawing from wells that she finds were abandoned long before they had run dry.

Perko’s paintings open an imaginative perspective on Santa Barbara and its surrounding landscape. Instead of relying on the painterly style of the area’s plein air artists to relay the dynamism of nature, Perko exploits Cubist, Art Nouveau and Orphist ideas to bring movement into her paintings of the local scene. Perko notes that, “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 sensed just under the surface.” Looking at her work, the life that the artist sees “just beneath the surface” seems intense, active and mystical. 

nterestingly, the visionary quality evident in the work stands in marked contrast to the apparent reserve of the artist. Quiet and unassuming, Angela nevertheless paints in the same visionary tradition as American artist Charles Burchfield, or perhaps more remotely, William Blake. Lately, she seems headed towards increasing abstraction as she searches ever more deeply for the most important relationships in both life and in her work.

Next month, the artist will publish a book of her drawings showing the process by which her remarkably intricate compositions come to life.


3:34 | Susan Bush

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