Sullivan Goss has built relationships with a great many artists throughout the community, the State, and the Nation at large, but it represents just thirteen living artists full-time. The gallery selected these people for representation based on their quality, individuality, value, and art historical importance. Their places in the program have been secured over the past two and a half decades and reflect the gallery’s evolving interests and profile.
In the gallery’s first MASTERWORKS exhibition in 2017, curator Susan Bush carefully selected one work from each of the artists to bring attention to their individuality within the gallery program. Sales were strong, which made sense. Some of the artist’s have two decade tenures with Sullivan Goss. Some of the newer artists to the program have only been here for a few years, but gallery curators have nevertheless followed their careers for much longer. Deep familiarity creates connoisseurship – a word very much out of fashion in certain parts of the art world these days – but one which gets its meaning from the French verb for “to know.” Gallerists Nathan Vonk, Susan Bush, and Jeremy Tessmer know these artists’ works well, as do many of their collectors at this point. As such, selecting especially good examples becomes a matter of patience and careful looking.
Each of these artists soars when their favorite kinds of images also employ their specific technical gifts. From Meredith Brooks Abbott, a master class in warm and cool greens and browns forms an Impressionist landscape of Carpinteria valley in Spring; from Whitney Brooks Abbott, a sturdy, if somewhat dessicated barn painted in afternoon light in the broken color technique of the Post-Impressionists; from Ken Bortolazzo, an outdoor kinetic stainless steel sculpture of uncommon grace with three separate rotor joints whose Minimalist and OpArt impulses are as balanced as the arms of the sculpture; from Phoebe Brunner, a Magical Realist wetland with rippling grasses and churning clouds; from Patricia Chidlaw, a moonlit railyard in Los Angeles that sits along the concrete embankments of the L.A. river; from Jon Francis, a Tonalist dream of an airstream Bambi perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific; from Robin Gowen, a dance between hills and valleys, between shadows and highlights; from Susan McDonnell, a suggestive still life tableau inhabited by an inquisitive small creature in the Magical Realist tradition; from John Nava, a postmodern Realist figure painting with strong classical references; from Angela Perko, a fractured and dynamic – almost Cubist – painting of the Santa Barbara Mission; from Hank Pitcher, a formal and architectonic painting of the cottages that line Miramar Beach; from Nicole Strasburg, a subtle and abstracted painting of lily pads floating in the ambiguous space described by water reflecting the sky above; and from Sarah Vedder, an evanescent image of a primordial Central Coast landscape painting with Tonalist roots.
In any solo show, these would be among the highlights. For the months of May and June, they can all be seen together in one room.
3:50 | Susan Bush