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SANTA BARBARA, CA - Sullivan Goss – An American Gallery is proud to announce a history-making exhibition of Santa Barbara art from 1875 to 2016. Taking its start date from the arrival of Henry Chapman Ford (1828-1894) to our city, the exhibition seeks to lay out an art history of Santa Barbara, from its first professional resident artist and the city’s other early artists, through its first Golden Age, to its midcentury masters, to a survey of some of today’s leading lights. Indeed, who are the Boreins, the Coopers, the Gambles, the Peakes, or the Doles of today?

Santa Barbara bills itself as a cultural destination and its patron class is known for its broad support of the arts. Still, the city rarely bills itself as one of California’s most important art centers. It’s an arguable point. Before there was a sustained art scene in Pasadena, in Monterey, in Carmel, or in Laguna, there was art in Santa Barbara. The city’s first gallery exhibition was held in Ford’s studio in the old Odd Fellows building at the southwest corner of State and Haley in September of 1875, years before one would find anything similar in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Monterey, Carmel, or Laguna. Santa Barbara has hosted two dedicated art schools, a photography school, three different University level art programs, and thousands of artists over the last 141 years.  Meanwhile, it has seven museums that mount art exhibitions either exclusively or from time to time.

For longtime watchers of the Santa Barbara art scene, the artists featured in this exhibition will require little introduction. Many have shown in the community for a long time and/or taught. Many have also had solo shows at local museums. Institutions like UCSB’s Art Design & Architecture Museum, the Westmont Ridley Tree Museum of Art, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, the Trust for Historic Preservation, the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art have mounted solo exhibitions for Meredith Brooks Abbott, Phoebe Brunner, Colin Campbell Cooper, William Dole, Lockwood de Forest, Dane Goodman, Daniel Sayre Groesbeck, Lyla Harcoff, Alexander Harmer, Fernand Lungren, Dan Lutz, Channing Peake, Hank Pitcher, Rafael Perea de la Cabada, Keith Puccinelli, Ray Strong, Joan Tanner, Dug Uyesaka, Grace Vollmer, and Howard Warshaw.


Arranged chronologically, this exhibition will trace the development of local artistic concerns: the artistic record of the Santa Barbara and greater Southwestern scene, the arrival of the tourist image, the development of plein air painting, the acceptance of Modernist ideas in Santa Barbara, the rise of collage and assemblage as important indigenous art forms, the reintegration of representational painting into contemporary art, and the growing acceptance of conceptual and/or abstract art practices.

In the city’s first Golden Age (c.1915-1930), civic leaders built the Meridian Studios, El Paseo, the Courthouse, the current Lobero Theater, the Granada theater, the church of Our Lady of Sorrows, and many of the grand estates in Montecito. More recently, civic leaders have renovated and redeveloped Cottage Hospital, Sansum Clinic, the Granada Theater, the Victoria Theater, the Funk Zone, MOXI, SB CAST, el Alma de Pueblo, and La Entrada. Could this not be seen to be the city’s second Golden Age? If so, who are the artists of today that will be understood as tomorrow’s Boreins, tomorrow’s Gambles, or tomorrow’s Coopers?


6:05 | Jeremy Tessmer

4:36 | Jeremy Tessmer

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