Review – Art gallery shows “The View from Here”

Zac Estrada

At the opening of the Atkinson Gallery’s first exhibit of the semester, everyone was talking about the view.

“The View from Here” exhibit celebrates the special scenery observed from the second floor of the Humanities building where the gallery is located. Ten Santa Barbara-area artists have created their own renditions of what the cityscape looks to them.

“Everyone who comes up here comments on the view,” Atkinson Gallery director Dane Goodman said. “I thought it would be a great idea for a show.”

About 80 people attended the opening reception for the gallery on Aug. 28 and most of the artists were present.

Goodman said that none of the artists in the exhibit are directly connected to SBCC. He specifically asked them, however, to do pieces for this exhibit. Many are award winning or notable community members.

Most of the art is hanging from the walls of the gallery, and is either two-dimension oil on canvas, drawings or photographs.

<ahref=” http://www.casazi.com/english/info.html”>Alejandro Casazi’s “Etched Light One” graphite etching is the sole piece hanging from the ceiling in front of the door to the balcony, on the way to the view from the gallery.

<ahref=” http://www.neoimages.net/artistportfolio.aspx?pid=1464″>Ethan Turpin’s “Castle in the Sand” photograph, a 1920s view of Santa Barbara, is accompanied by a stereoscope to make the piece look more interactive. Turpin also had a kaleidoscope set up on the outside balcony at the reception. Goodman said the artist’s intent was to “show the ever-changing scenery of Santa Barbara.”

UCSB graduate student Stephanie Washburn’s two pictures are inspired by landscape paintings. She chose to symbolize the current social and political climates by using a rubber stamp to create a picture.

“I wanted to create an image out of texts,” Washburn said. “I was inspired by western landscapes and the financial crisis.”

It takes a sharp eye to recognize Washburn’s works as more than streaks of blue ink on a white canvas, which is why most gallery visitors will end up squinting their eyes while their noses are pressed against the glass of the frame. But Washburn chose to use stamps that say “too big to fail” and “required rate of return” to make her art.

The stamps are somewhat uncharted territory for the Wesleyan grad and Los Angeles native.

“It’s all pretty new for me,” Washburn said. “I’m pretty much a painter but I’ve been getting into text drawings and using newspapers and a historical context. I’ve been putting things into context.”

Putting things into context is a sub-theme for some of the artists, such as UCSB professor <ahref=”http://www.arts.ucsb.edu/people/faculty/ross.html”>Richard Ross’ pieces that showcase the views from different parts of SBCC including the view from the custodial facilities and switchboard office. One of those views is also from President Andreea Serban’s desk, cluttered with paper and spiral-bound notebooks.

But most of the pieces had few political overtones. Goodman said that a major part of the exhibit is to show how the view is forever developing and changing in the minds of the artists.

Serban congratulated the artists and Goodman for their efforts.

“It’s great to have this view of the college,” she said.

The exhibit runs through Sept. 25.