Making it as an artist is no easy feat, and no one knows that better than the group currently exhibiting at SBCC’s Atkinson Gallery. For his first show of the New Year, gallery director Dane Goodman has curated a collection of abstract paintings and sculptures from Santa Barbara artists who’ve struggled to — and succeeded in — getting their works out there. The aptly titled Persistence is brimming with creations that run the gamut from dark, moody paintings to intricate and industrial multimedia constructions. Below, we highlight just a few of the artists on display. An opening reception for Persistence will be held this Friday, January 27, from 5-7 p.m. The exhibit will be on display during gallery hours through Thursday, February 16. Call 965-0581 or visit for info.

Joan Tanner's “Scoundrel & SlapFace.”

1. Joan Tanner: Indianapolis-born mixed-media artist Joan Tanner brings an inventive and thought-provoking edge to Persistence’s eclectic lineup. Her sculpture “Scoundrel & SlapFace” is a twisted mix of wood and wire so intricate that it seems to have a specific, utilitarian purpose, yet it’s unfinished enough to reference the arts-and-crafts movement. No matter how you look at it, though, Tanner’s piece is a mind-bending sight to behold.

2. Hugh Margerum: Margerum’s paintings are a staple of the Santa Barbara art scene, and it’s no wonder why; his colorful mix of abstraction and impressionism seems to brighten every room it’s placed in. His “Reckoner” is a heady mix of cerulean blues, grays, and yellows, and his use of layering evokes a sense of depth that’s equal parts inviting and mind-altering.

3. Jerrold Burchman: UCLA grad Jerrold Burchman is a fan of big, boisterous brush strokes, and his contribution to Persistence, “Passeggiata” showcases this beautifully. The warm yellows and greens that fill Burchman’s panel call to mind a Midwestern corn harvest, and the smooth, arching lines that break up the space expertly contrast the short, abrupt strokes that lie within the frames.

4. Mary Heebner: Like Margerum’s, Heebner’s is a familiar name in the S.B. art world. Her acrylic work is some of the more stunning, intricate, and subtly evocative out there, and her contribution to this group show, “The Blues,” is equal parts color study and moody exercise in conveying emotion through abstraction.


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