The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Former City College professor hosts art exhibit at local gallery

The Channels Art Pages | STAFF REVIEW
Lauren Michelle McGee
Pamela Zwehl-Burke’s art exhibit “Crossing” is open until March 10, at the Marcia Burtt Galary in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Although the weather outside is rainy and gloomy, Pamela Zwehl-Burke’s solo exhibit, “Crossing,” serves as a glimpse into the radiance of the Santa Ynez creek beds.

Held in the Marcia Burtt Gallery, Burke’s paintings exhibit the significance of impermanence in the creek and our everyday lives. Created from a bird’s eye view, Burke encapsulated the essence of the creek with abstract auburns and indigos reflecting fallen leaves on the dancing creek bed.

Using oil-stick on paper, the subtle hints of violet, lavender, and pinks each have a purpose in representing the current of the Santa Ynez River. Strategically painted on top of one another, the seemingly arbitrary colors add depth to the subjects of the pieces.

As a student of Buddhism, Burke’s personal values are reflected in her work. Intended to be viewed from every angle, every diverse look changes the narrative as the river flows throughout the seasons. One angle can represent still waters, and another visualizing the fast-paced current of the river.

Story continues below advertisement

The series as a whole took three years to complete, and approximately three months on each painting.

“Crossing 1”, a perspective of the busy current, immediately grabs attention from the shadows of the rocks against the unruly branches across the paper.

“Crossing 11” and ”Crossing 13” were favorites of mine. The violet and fuschia strokes enhance the bare mahogany twigs resting on turquoise water. “It’s about the way things push and pull,” said Burke, who accurately conveyed how the characteristics of the river always transform, which she studied on her walks on a trail near her home.

The autumn brown and green leaves accenting the emerald and burgundy underneath it captures the atmosphere of Fall in the pieces “Crossing 2” and “Crossing 6.” From looking closely at these paintings I learned how much layering a base color and a variety of other colors can affect the meaning of a piece.

The Marcia Burtt Gallery in downtown Santa Barbara has a cozy aura. The tranquil setting is fitting for the exhibition. The location is quiet and tucked away yet the colorful artwork accentuates the off-white walls.

The front half of the gallery hosts Burke’s exhibit and behind it is a section featuring other artists’ work. Other pieces like “Lemon Garden Study” by Anne Ward and “Hydrangeas On Our New Table” have similar themes, except Ward focused more on the effect of lighting and shadows.

This exhibit is worth visiting.  

The pieces mean much more than what’s on the surface and anyone can learn something from viewing the artwork and knowing the message behind them. The gallery’s serene atmosphere makes it easy to thoroughly take in all the available art. Entry is free with catalogs available to buy.

“Crossing” can be viewed from 1-5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday until March 10th in the Marcia Burtt Gallery.


More to Discover