“Waiting for Papers” by Julia Pinkham.

THE MANY FACES OF BUDDHA: Now in its 10th year, the annual Buddha Abides show at Frameworks (813 Anacapa St.) has become a solid Santa Barbara tradition. Stop by the gallery before Saturday, May 29, to witness the many faces of Buddha as imagined by nearly 100 artists in this juried show. You’ll find everything from “The Goddess of Nature,” Meganne Forbes’s serene, soft-hued watercolor, to Mooneen Mourad’s acrylic painting “Happy,” in which bare-bellied Buddha squats like a frog on a lily pad. Hazel’s “Green Tara of Compassion” borrows the vivid colors and dense symbolism of a Tibetan thangka, while Jeff Lipshitz captures the intense concentration of a devoted Buddhist practitioner in his photograph “Nun Studying on Bed.”

There are lots of small-scale pieces included in the show, ranging from Deborah Alston Wroblewski’s assemblage work “Travel Well,” in which a tiny golden Buddha rides along in a child’s wagon with his suitcase at his side, to “Blue Buddha,” Mary Stanley’s vision of Siddhartha Gautama in rug-hooked wool. And last year’s 5×5 series of square works proved so popular that it’s back again for 2010; each piece goes for $55. As in years past, proceeds from sales of these works go to the Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala, India, and to Domestic Violence Solutions right here in Santa Barbara County. Go get your Zen on. Call 965-1812 or visit carusowoods.com for info.

WAVES AND CURLS: She’s a dedicated surfer whose love of the ocean seeps through into her abstract paintings. Now through Sunday, May 30, Julia Pinkham exhibits a large body of work at Artamo Gallery (11 W. Anapamu St.). The 50 paintings in this show span from 2006-2010, making it possible to track her development from loose, looping lines to slightly more structured canvasses.

Artamo owner Jack Mohr has named the show Inventory, and indeed, you’ll find the works that don’t fit on the wall stacked on the floor awaiting perusal. “People are encouraged to dive into the stacks,” Mohr encouraged, explaining, “I was torn between wanting a nice clean space and wanting to promote that kind of exploration.” Those who take him up on his invitation will discover the depth of Pinkham’s oeuvre, from the explosive, gaseous forms of works like “After Images” (2006) to the incorporation of geometric shapes in “Waiting for Papers” (2008) through to the dense, sketchy universes of her latest creations, including “How They Won” and “The Shoe Dropped” (both 2010).

In one series, Pinkham becomes fascinated with chairs. Straight-backed chairs and stools appear beneath scratchy graffito, sometimes as primary characters, sometimes forming a shadowy army en masse. Then there are the painterly equivalents of Rayonnant architecture: flame after flickering flame rising to a fiery crescendo. The beauty of these works is in the way they evoke complex and individual reactions. Like passing clouds or Rorschach inkblots, Pinkham’s paintings invite the viewer on a journey into inner territory. For gallery hours and show info, call 568-1400 or visit artamo.com.


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