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Hank Pitcher Goes Primal

Given the phantasmagoric nature of today’s visual entertainments, it’s a wonder that an art gallery can hold our attention. Case in point: the meditative spaces at the Sullivan Goss gallery located on narrow Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara. A quiet inner dialogue in the gallery space shuts outside noises and distractions on our selfie lives.

Hank Pitcher’s solo show, “Primal,” now on view in the central of the three exhibition spaces, presents seductively simple pastel-infused figurative landscapes that become objects of our thankful contemplation.  

Figures on a blended ground, the big representational works present themselves, surreptitiously, as healing advisors to our pain-ridden lives, setting off the disrupted and urbanized landscape lurking nearby. 

Whether the fecundity of oversized bees in an open field or psychedelic succulents and Coreopsis at Pt. Conception, “Primal,” is mostly about big paintings that seek to find a place of basic and substantial rest in our conflicted, overpopulated world.

While these works are to some degree unsettling, they don’t trespass on our senses like a Francis Bacon meat market dismemberment, anyways. Pitcher’s paintings are something that any of us, depending on our temperament, might be able to live with at home, certainly at work or in the public sphere. Think David Hockney.

Nonetheless, affording one of Pitcher’s paintings is another story. Best to visit the show before it closes. These panels may not hang together until many years from now—perhaps in a retrospective at say, LACMA or MOMA, once Pitcher and crew have passed beyond his beloved studio space on the bluff at UC’s Coal Oil Point Preserve, west through the Chumash’s hope of a “Western Gate,” at Pt. Conception.

See the show. Think about how to be a part of and to enjoy Pitcher’s vision of our local ecology. Inspiration is likely guaranteed.

“Hank Pitcher: Primal” is on view February 28 to April 21, 2019 at Sullivan Goss An American Gallery, 11 East Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara.

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