Going South

Art Off the Wall

Julia Pinkham's "The Sweet Green" (2007).

Road trips are a staple of summertime travel, and this version of Off the Wall is inspired by a mini-trip down the coast to explore our neighbors to the south: Montecito and Summerland. They may not be far, but each community has its own distinct personality. And while both have an upscale air, they also feature some excellent examples of unique, collaborative art exhibiting.

Exercising Good Judgment

Art and fitness may not be common bedfellows, but they work surprisingly well together at the newest branch of Fitness Together, a personal training business in Montecito’s Olive Mill Plaza. Owner Nissa Gay was looking for a way to distinguish her space from other gyms in the area and teamed with up Jack Mohr, artist and director of Artamo Gallery, to create a personal fitness environment that is both inspiring and inspired. While most fitness centers aim to motivate their patrons with images of atypically fit models, Fitness Together displays abstract paintings by artists Julia Pinkham and Patrick Dintino that have a strong sense of movement and energy. Dintino’s works explore variations on a theme of undulating colors merging across the canvas. His assortment of colors heaves and swells in a dynamic, rolling spectrum, receding and advancing in waves. In complimentary contrast, Pinkham’s abstract paintings feature organic shapes that shift in and out of the foreground in random patterns.

Patrick Dintino's "Transporter" (2004).

Just upstairs from Fitness Together, the clothing/jewelry/fine gifts store Mischief also features innovative art with works by L.A. artist Taeko Hasumi. Hasumi’s work blurs the border between homemade craft and fine art, employing handmade strips of fabric and bending them origami-style into tiny squares. The result is a complex and impressive display of color, texture, and pattern that forms an intricate and mesmerizing composition. Like a contemporary quilter, Hasumi’s work weaves fabric into a physical narrative, each stitch providing a sentence in the storyline.

Art and Food for Thought

Down the winding road and through the quiet, canopied pathways of Montecito, Italian restaurant Piatti in the Upper Village has formed an artistic partnership with John Carlander, longtime painter and professor of art at Westmont College. For this exhibition of Carlander’s work, Piatti displays pieces from his Venice series. The artist uses photographs to create his paintings, which have the same cool impassivity and bright color palette as David Hockney’s pool series. In these works, the city’s striking architecture, the bobbing boats on the canals, and the clear blue sky are irresistible invitations to explore Italian food and culture.

John Carlander's "Venice on the Grand Canal" (2005).

A few miles farther south, in Summerland, Cafe Luna’s walls are adorned with the work of twin sisters Danielle and Simone Rubi. The theme of travels in foreign lands continues here with Danielle’s photojournalistic-style images of tropical locales. Palm trees, hammocks, and sunset vistas feature prominently in her work; her photographs are quiet glimpses into the daily activities of vacationing. Simone’s work, on the other hand, is loud and assertive, combining florescent cutouts of hands and Polaroid photos in a chaotic sculptural piece. Their works literally strung together by strands of crisscrossing twine, the sisters merge their contrasting styles into one giant collage.

Art Off the Wall

Julia Pinkham and Patrick Dintino (patrickdintino.com)

At Fitness Together (1225 Coast Village Rd. Ste. C.) through September 30.

Taeko Hasumi

At Mischief (1225 Coast Village Rd., Ste. B) indefinitely.

John Carlander

At Piatti (516 San Ysidro Rd.) indefinitely.

Danielle and Simone Rubi (rubiphotography.com and simonerubi.com)

At Cafe Luna (2354 Lillie Ave., Summerland) through November 3.


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