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Local illustrator Maria Rendon showcase at Atkinson Gallery

Ryan Cullom
Santa Barbara City College students Cayla Eggemyer, front, and Rebekah Bradbury take in the art on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 at the Atkinson Gallery “Missing Rib” exhibition by Maria Rendon in Santa Barbara, Calif. Bradury remarked that the exhibition had “Really high quality art for a college gallery.”

With abstract shapes and bold colors placed onto diluted backgrounds, Maria Rendon’s “Missing Rib” exhibition invites viewers to question the concept of reality and perception.

Doors opened at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, with a reception welcoming spectators into the Atkinson Gallery in the Humanities Building.

Born and raised in Mexico City, the now Santa Barbara-based artist says what is not there interests her just as much as what is there.

In Rendon’s four-piece painting installation, “Untitled,” she includes fleshy pinks and oval shapes, resembling eggs or possibly female genetalia.

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The exhibit features watery acrylic paintings as they meet paper, and panels are cut into large shapes arching across the wall.

In Rendon’s piece titled “Accidental Virtue,” she took salvaged painted paper, cut them into shapes and wove them together creating an arc across the wall of the gallery. The extensive piece looks inward, representing development of the artist.

Much of the work’s focal point is to look deeper rather than skimming the surface.

Acrylic on paper painting “Modern Humans Emerge,” and acrylic on panel “The Last Corpuscle” show bold yellow and pink cloud-like objects layered onto muddled brown and black backgrounds.

The two paintings are placed in a line accompanied by another two across the left wall of the gallery.

Rendon’s use and variation of dense and foggy circular shapes captivates viewers as they are encouraged to see different things within those shapes, just like looking at actual clouds, reinforcing the artist’s focus on perception.

Rendon’s painting “Bovine Malaise” resembled a wolf howling at the moon, painted with blended greens and a sharp outline onto a smooth blue background. To another viewer it may just look like a splotch of paint.

The most impressive facet is Rendon’s ability to inspire observers to think, which is the reason we look at art. The artists thought-provoking abstract work pushes us to look inward rather than just scratching the surface.

The Atkinson Gallery will be exhibiting Rendon’s work until March 27.

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