As Sullivan Goss curators talked over exhibition plans for 2021, they noticed a pattern among three artists whose relationship to the gallery had been growing – in one case, over many years. Claudia Borfiga, Yumiko Glover, and Julika Lackner shared a graphic sensibility that was rooted in Modernism’s preference for simplified and abstracted shapes, but which had a decidedly contemporary slant. The palettes are more contemporary, to be sure, but their reductive sensibilities also seemed to nod to computer-aided graphic design – especially to vector-based illustration. All three artists are young women, all born abroad, and all have converged on Santa Barbara, but there was another pattern at work, too. Although highly-stylized and meticulously designed, their work was notable for its content; that is, what you might find going on between the carefully drawn lines.
Nature, in its many guises, is a persistent motif. Glover and Lackner are both deft at fashioning the landscape – and particularly the sky – into a carrier for their central concerns. In Lackner’s case, she is interested in both the palpability of atmosphere and the particularity of place for a world traveler like herself. For Yumiko, her manga-inflected cloudscapes seem to hint at the specter of geopolitical conflict and its effects on the environment. Borfiga’s work treats agricultural products, gardens, and native fauna with fresh, young graphic power, but her work also falls under the heading of social practice. Specifically, she uses print-making and textile design to bring communities together and to celebrate collaborative creativity and local agriculture. Lurking in the background of all three artists’ practices is a desire to use decorative patterns and clever design to push their own agendas. In so doing, they very subtly tip their hat to the Pattern & Decoration movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s, which likewise sought to reclaim decorative motifs as a potent language for female artists who were then even more marginalized than they are today.
CLAUDIA BORFIGA Claudia Borfiga was born in Greater London. She received her B.A. with honors in Textiles Design from Loughborough University. Since arriving in Santa Barbara, the artist has shown with the Creative Arts Workshop, the Arts Fund of Santa Barbara, the Architectural Foundation, the Santa Barbara Printmakers Show, the Breakfast Culture Club, and other venues. Prior to immigrating to the U.S., she had an extensive exhibition history in London and Brighton. Claudia’s practice is very socially engaged. She has organized PRINT POWER to raise awareness of sexual assault. She put together a clothing brand called Chhipa that utilizes master indigo dye printers in Rajasthan, India to produce unisex shirts and she organized a pop-up called The Makers Shop in London. Working in affordable and accessible media, her career has made community a vital concern both in the production and the consumption of her art work. Claudia currently lives in Santa Barbara, CA. Her work debuted in the Gallery’s annual 100 GRAND exhibition in 2019.
YUMIKO GLOVER Yumiko Glover was born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan. She received her B.F.A. from the University of Hawai’i (2011) and completed her M.F.A. at U.C.S.B. (2017) where she was the post-graduate Artist-In-Residence (2017-2018). Glover has exhibited her artwork in solo exhibitions at: Brian Ohno Gallery (Seattle) and Silo118 Gallery (Santa Barbara, CA), as well as in group exhibitions at: PØST (Los Angeles), Left Field (San Luis Obispo), Art, Design and Architecture Museum at U.C.S.B., Honolulu Museum of Art (Honolulu, HI), iBiennale MMXIX (Honolulu) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Glover currently lives in Santa Barbara, CA, where she is a lecturer in the department of Art at University of California, Santa Barbara. She has shown in the Gallery’s U.C.S.B. M.F.A. 20/20 as well as this year's 100 GRAND exhibition.
JULIKA LACKNER Julika Lackner was born in Berlin and grew up spending part of her year in Germany and part of her year in Santa Barbara. After attending Santa Barbara City College and the Freie Universität in Berlin, she went to U.C.S.B. where she earned a B.A. in 2001. In 2006, she earned her M.F.A. at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. Lackner has exhibited her work in solo exhibitions at: Mertens Fine Art (Montecito, CA) and the Mandarin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA) in addition to a number of venues in Santa Barbara and Pasadena. Lackner currently lives in Los Angeles, CA, but her family remains in Santa Barbara. She has shown in the numerous Gallery exhibitions dating back to 2008, when she debuted in the 10 Under 30 exhibition. She has also been included in OBJECTS OF IMPOSSIBILITY: Contemporary Abstraction in 2016 and The Artists of U.C.S.B. in 2018 as well as numerous 100 GRAND exhibitions.
4:20 | Jeremy Tessmer