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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Review – Sculptures bring images of spider webs and organs to Atkinson

A fascinating new sculpture exhibit, “Some Are Sweet and Some Are Nasty,” opened Friday at the Atkinson Gallery, featuring the work of UCSB graduate student Nathan Hayden.

Hayden’s unique abstract piece is something he calls “drawings in space.” Lines and shapes made from wire and yarn extend from the ceiling, across the room, through the windows and out onto the deck.

“It’s almost like walking through a spider web,” said City College art student Merry Young. “You kind of have to maneuver through it; become part of it.”

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Hayden’s artwork is a drawing come to life in bright colors and abstract shapes, some looking like vines from a hanging jungle and others more like primordial amoebas or black holes.

At the opening, observers stepped around hanging pieces, being extra careful not to step on sculptures that were sitting on the floor. Hayden pointed to one of the shapes on the floor – a small wiry blob that seemed in the perfect place to get stepped on.

He said it looked as if it had been a part of something that was hanging, but it had fallen, and no one bothered to put it back up. It seemed chaotic, he added. Hayden noted to a friend of his that it looked like an electrified mouse.

Each observer seemed to take something different from the exhibit, demonstrating the effectiveness of abstract art.

This combination of wire and yarn to produce sculptures is the first of its kind by Hayden. He said he used these materials to translate his drawings to 3-D.

“Ever since I was a kid I was drawing, but I didn’t decide to do art for a living until I was in college,” Hayden said. He described the piece as an expression of natural forms – plant and animal, patterns and organs.

Art student Andre Mirzaian was asked to view the exhibit for a class he is taking, as an example of abstract impressionism. To him, the large blobs looked like organs.

Yarns hang in clusters, creating pathways that cause viewers to change direction and see the forms from different angles. Hayden designed it that way, so that observers could see the shapes as they lined up to create new perspectives.

As the sun set at the reception, the city of Santa Barbara could be seen through the wires, claws and kaleidoscopes of colors that changed as the sun set.

Dane Goodman, director of the Atkinson Gallery, said he hoped that seeing Hayden’s work would give City College students an idea of the kind of art they could create in the future. Hayden echoed the sentiment. “I hope that [students] come and think that it’s good, and want to make good stuff as a result of it,” he said.

Hayden’s exhibit will remain on display in the Atkinson Gallery through Feb. 20.

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