TURTLE FUR ALERT: Brooklyn artist Amy Cutler has found a creative sweet spot in the last decade and developed a signature style of dry neo-surrealism that’s instantly recognizable. In Cutler’s various imaginary worlds, groups of pleasingly colored female figures engage in mysterious and impossible activities as they float across bright, empty space. Some of Cutler’s women work together to sew up the wounds of live tigers, others iron each other’s bodies flat, and still others walk around with saddles on their backs, carrying horses as though they were riders. They all act as though these mad fantasy tasks were just another station in the standard rounds of women’s daily work, like surreal forms of quilting, crochet, or knitting. The early-career retrospective of Cutler’s work that’s on view now through Sunday, September 16, at UCSB’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum is called, simply, Amy Cutler, and it contains some really crucial images. Cutler will be in town for a closing celebration and walkthrough of the exhibition on Friday, September 14, and the opportunity to hear this highly articulate woman reflect on her work and life is not to be missed. In addition to the show, the AD&A Museum also has available a book, Turtle Fur, which was done by SITE Santa Fe to accompany the exhibition and contains a collaboration with writers Aimee Bender and Laura Steward.
ARTS FUND SALON SERIES: Two more young Brooklyn artists, Nicholas and Penelope Gazin, are the guests of honor at The Arts Fund’s final Salon Series event on Sunday, September 9. The afternoon discussion, Off the Wall: Where Millennium Generation Artists Sell, represents an interesting moment in the evolution of one distinguished Santa Barbara family, as Nicholas and Penelope are brother and sister, and the children of Cayetana Conrad, daughter of writer and San Francisco/Santa Barbara legend Barnaby Conrad. Tani, as mom is known, lives in a home south of Summerland that once belonged to renowned California Cubist painter Howard Warshaw. The younger Gazin generation not only remains committed to their family’s ongoing engagement with visual art but also embraces digital media and a defiantly subversive attitude toward traditional art-world business practices. As Nicholas, who writes for the L.A.-based pop culture magazine VICE and designs for hipster streetwear label Mishka, put it in an interview with Neon Forest Gallery last year, “The gallery scene disgusts me and I loathe it. It has nothing to do with what art is or what’s really happening in art. Tumblr is where art is at these days. Galleries are just where money and phoney assholes are.” Tip your trendy men’s hat to Ted Mills for stepping up and moderating what promises to be an interesting discussion. For more information, call 965-7321 or email email@example.com.
GOTTA HAVE THAT FUNK: Wall Space continues to roll forward in the new building at 116 East Yanonali Street. The Water’s Edge exhibit, which lasts through Monday, September 3, includes great contemporary photographs loosely grouped around that perennial summer theme of the place where the waves meet the sand. Don’t miss Svjetlana Tepavcevic’s The Sea Inside series. These beautifully printed long exposures of ocean waves are the next best thing to getting barreled at Rincon and exist far beyond the “surf art” scene. A couple of blocks away at MichaelKate, the city’s longest running visual art father-and-son act, Brad and Ken Nack, has a bracing new show that demonstrates just how wide-ranging and adaptable both artists have been over the course of the past 40 years. Ken’s big, poster-like pictures from the 1970s are some of the best European-style graphics produced anywhere from that period, all scraps of bold typography and feathered, torn edges rendered with great daring and consummate attention to detail. Meanwhile, Brad’s ongoing response to the legacy of his father’s work continues in several forms, including both after-the-fact collaborations and entirely original new works. Check the back wall for Brad’s dazzling take on that timeless classic, Grant Wood’s “American Gothic.”