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Sullivan Goss is pleased to announce the gallery’s second solo exhibition for Santa Barbara’s best-selling plein air Impressionist, Meredith Brooks Abbott. After 38 years of regular exhibitions in Santa Barbara and Montecito, Abbott’s signature style and her intimate knowledge of the local culture and history have made her one of the icons of the Santa Barbara art scene.

Since Henry Chapman Ford first put out a shingle here in around 1875, Santa Barbara has had a decidedly outsized interest in the arts. Since then, a succession of distinguished painters have documented the area, their names ringing down through the ages: Harmer, Lungren, Cooper, Borg, Borein, Hinkle, Gamble, Parshall, Peake, Warshaw, Strong, and so on, up to the present day. Among the area’s earlier painters, many were committed to plein air Impressionism and Meredith joins many of her fellow Oak Group founders in continuing that tradition. She paints Santa Barbara life in the Santa Barbara style.

Born in California, Meredith Brooks Abbott is a longtime local resident. She decided to pursue a career as an artist at a young age and began college at Scripps College in Claremont, CA. When her father fell ill, she returned to Santa Barbara to care after him. During those years, she studied under local artist Douglass Parshall (1899-1990). She also studied under Richard S. Meryman (1882-1963), through whom she met noted California Impressionist Clarence Hinkle (1880-1960). She eventually returned to school and earned her degree from the Art Center School in Los Angeles. In 1962, she moved to New York City where she worked as an illustrator in the advertising field and took night classes at the Art Students League. In 1970, she moved to San Francisco where she began to exhibit her paintings in galleries. She frequently made trips to the pastoral Marin County where she enjoyed painting en plein air. While in San Francisco, she reunited with her childhood friend Duncan Abbott and the two were married. In 1974, they moved back south and settled on Duncan’s avocado and lemon ranch in Carpinteria.

Meredith still lives on that same ranch where her husband Duncan was born. Their children grew up in the same white clapboard house where their grandchildren now play. The Brooks and Abbott roots run deep in this part of the country. Both sides of the family have lived on the land for generations. Meredith knows every valley and field, every tree and flower. When she’s not painting, she gets her hands into the soil of her flower garden to harvest the blooms that feature so prominently in her still lifes. Indeed, a good part of the joy of owning a painting by Meredith comes from the strong sense of place one feels in looking at them. Living around her paintings, you may even learn to feel, as she does, at home in paradise. 


2:50 | Susan Bush

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