Place and Paradise: Artists from Santa Barbara

March 5 - August 31, 2020
Montecito, CA


Heather James Montecito presents an exhibition featuring artists from Santa Barbara and the surrounding communities. These artists explore themes of location and change by contextualizing and recontextualizing space and time. Santa Barbara often refers to itself as the “American Riviera”; the artworks in the exhibition speak to both the search and questioning of this idea of paradise and of place.

Ann Diener builds up her drawings with the records and traces of a location’s history. Her drawings appear as if each layer of a palimpsest were made legible. The amassing of markings, objects, and buildings creates a kind of new present or topography while still maintaining the memory of a place. What changes have occurred and how do we track these changes?

Penelope Gottlieb’s paintings are aesthetically beautiful and give shape to the emotions of botanical loss. Gottlieb moves beyond the traditional renderings for plants to create images at once real and imagined, like a memory that doesn’t quite come into focus. In the exhibited “Vanishing Species” series, the artist paints orchids that are vulnerable to extinction. With its highly reflective surface, the flower almost places the viewer in the same frame, thereby questioning the relationship between human and flora, viewer and viewed.

Russell Young presents an icon of Hollywood and California glamor – Marilyn Monroe. His screen-printing technique on linen recalls American Pop Art while the added diamond dust adds a contemporary opulence. Young’s continuation of the Pop Art lineage speaks to his ability to recontextualize cultural icons from his perspective as British born immigrant growing up across the pond with these images.