Colonialism, politics, and fashion collide in the work of Yinka Shonibare, whose ongoing show at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) through June 21 represents a major coup for Santa Barbara. A Flying Machine for Every Man, Woman and Child is the British-born artist’s first solo show in the Western U.S. and is not to be missed. This year’s first installment of Nights centers on this show. Also at SBMA, Saturday, May 2-Sunday, August 16, is a significant photographic retrospective of Brett Weston, son of Edward.
Director of Westmont College’s Reynolds Gallery, Judy Larson, juries Santa Barbara City College’s Student Exhibition, which runs Friday, April 17-Friday, May 15, with works for sale, while the Reynolds Gallery itself hosts a juried exhibition of work by tri-county artists titled Views and Visions: Interior Space from Thursday, May 21-Friday, June 26. Entries to this year’s show will be judged by Elyse Gonzales, curator of exhibitions at UCSB’s University Art Museum (UAM). At UAM from Wednesday, April 1-Sunday, June 14, are two concurrent shows: Signs of His Times, dedicated to the work and the collection of UCSB professor emeritus of art Gary H. Brown, and Toward Enlightenment: The Sacred Art of Tibet, a show drawn from the holdings of the Rubin Museum of Art.
With the Dalai Lama visiting Santa Barbara in April, Tibet has captured the city’s imagination, and the Fielding Graduate University’s Art Gallery joins the homage with Silent Prayer: A Tribute to Tibet, a group show of paintings inspired by the region, on display through Friday, May 15. In keeping with the theme, Frameworks Gallery hosts its annual Buddha Abides exhibition Tuesday, May 5-Saturday, May 30.
For visual journeys to other faraway lands, check out Brooks Institute’s South India photo documentary show Svara at its Gallery 27, running Thursday, April 2-Friday, April 24, and Monday, May 4-Friday, May 29. At the Architectural Foundation, Peru-People and Places, photographs by Sylvia Abualy, shows Saturday, April 18-Friday, May 29, and Shelter: Mud and Architecture of Mali, photos by Charlene Pidgeon, shows Tuesday, June 2-Friday, July 10. The foundation also shows new paintings by Santa Barbara fauvist Kathleen Elsey, now through Friday, April 10.
If landscape is your passion, you’ll want to stop by the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center to catch South and West!, an exhibition of paintings in support of the Utah Red Rock Wilderness Act, on display Monday, March 30-Friday, May 1. At Patty Look Lewis Gallery, don’t miss shows by Kim Matthews Wheaton (April 2-30), Kay Bradner (May 7-30), and Steven Graber (June 4-30). Each artist captures something of our coastal scenery or our sweeping valleys. Surfers and ocean lovers: make your way down to Santa Barbara Art Studios between Friday, March 27 and Monday, April 20, to see Storm Proofs, sports photographer Alexis Cottavoz-Usher‘s study of the essence of surfing.
Winners of the Arts Fund’s 2008 Individual Artist Award display work at the gallery now through Friday, May 8, while Teen Arts Mentorship students show their creations there Friday, May 22-Friday, July 10. At the Contemporary Arts Forum (CAF), there’s a full menu of exhibitions and events, with highlights including a show of avant-garde ceramic artists through Sunday, May 24, and an appearance by performance artist and examiner of queer culture Mark Verabioff at CAF’s Forum Lounge on Thursday, April 2.
Every first Thursday of the month, downtown Santa Barbara will be swarming with art appreciators for the Downtown Organization’s popular 1st Thursday art walk. The organization also hosts its Downtown Art & Wine Tour on Thursday, May 28.