When it comes to art, the old saying “different strokes for different folks” means that there’s something out there for everyone to enjoy. This version of Off the Wall celebrates the diversity of Santa Barbara’s artists and the work they create.
Different Faces, Different Places
Photojournalist Santi Visalli spent the last four decades traveling the world, photographing notable dignitaries, famous actors, and other memorable (and sometimes notorious) personalities for world-renowned publications including Time, Life, and Newsweek, before ending up in Santa Barbara. While his photographs of significant American characters and historical moments are an impressive part of his resume, his series of images documenting the architectural skylines of America’s major cities are some of his most iconic and influential pieces. Visalli paints a portrait of his subject cities that is both glamorous and familiar, and his collection of Santa Barbara portraits-currently exhibited at Samy’s Camera-provides a memorable architectural retrospective of our fair city. In addition to postcard-worthy standards like the mission, the harbor, and the courthouse, the exhibition also includes more poignant images, like the remains of Mount Calvary Monastery after the Tea Fire.
Vive le Difference
Vanae Rivera’s work, with its signature blend of pop-culture iconography and graffiti stylings, has been exhibited in different venues across Santa Barbara, but her role in the current show at Muddy Waters is participant and curator. For this exhibition, Rivera has invited an eclectic group of artists who create in a variety of media-collage, painting, and photography among them-and who represent a fresh perspective. The show’s unifying theme is unconventional representation. Painter Sheryl Schroeder uses 1950s pin-up fashion to depict women surrounded by stereotypical feminine imagery in mock domestic scenes. Adopting an Ed Ruscha-like devotion to American advertising signs, Bonnie Beedles reassigns the subject matter to include Santa Barbara landmarks, as in her piece “NADA,” which depicts a portion of The Granada’s marquee. In “Rattleboy’s Debacle,” painter Andy Proctor weaves a fantastical desert narrative, complete with an animated slug as the protagonist. And photography duo Manny and Kendall offer the viewer stark, off-kilter portraits of the mundane, capturing the essence of a summer’s day with “Fun,” a portrait of an inner tube floating above a swimming pool, and “Mine,” a straight shot of a cheeseburger with fries on a diner plate.
What a Difference Some Art Makes
This spring at Fresco Five Points, Art Walk for Kids/Adults features the works of special needs, developmentally disabled, and at-risk artists in our community. The show’s theme is Santa Barbara Inspirations, and the results are indeed inspired. This nonprofit outreach project sponsors the special needs group to visit Santa Barbara sites and create works in the style of a master artist. The exhibition at Fresco includes pieces by David Peterson, whose exuberant, minimalist paintings of Santa Barbara sites like the mission and the pier capture our city’s landmarks at their most essential level through exaggerated formal qualities like strong lines, buoyant shapes, and enthusiastic color, all with a combination of earnestness and joy.
Santi Visalli (santivisalli.com)
At Samy’s Camera (614 Chapala St.) through April 30
At Muddy Waters Cafe (508 Haley St.) through April 30
Art Walk For Kids/Adults (artwalkforkids.org)
At Fresco Five Points (3987 State St., Ste. B) through May 17.