"Polo Study #6" by Kim Reierson

The Gallery Montecito on Coast Village Road is a small space with a big heart. This new enterprise, which is co-owned by Marjorie Layden, Linda Evans, and Gary Craig, takes as its mission the marriage of fine art and good causes. On February 18, the gallery will celebrate the launch of its first such collaboration, in which the work of Santa Barbara photographer Kim Reierson and the paintings of Dalva Duarte are on display for the month of February as part of a benefit for the Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center.

Reierson’s elegant black-and-white images offer viewers the opportunity to revel in the sheer sensual pleasure of connecting with horses, thus illustrating neatly one aspect of what makes the Hearts program such effective therapy. For example, in the gorgeous large print titled “Polo Study #6,” Reierson uses the frame to crop out a sweating horse’s head and legs, leaving the viewer in intimate contact with what is for riders, the business end of the animal, namely the torso and especially the glowing top of the back where the saddle would be. Cascading water and iridescent shimmers of steam create a sense of unity between the animal and its environment that’s at once earthy and ephemeral. Like all of Reierson’s images in this series, it’s a great shot.

Dalva Duarte’s colorful paintings clearly draw on the grand tradition, as there is even a reference in one instance to that classic subject for both Nicolas Poussin and Pablo Picasso, the abduction of the Sabine women. The overall style, however, is not hard-edged classical or cubist, but rather dreamlike, as in Chagall. The paintings create a satisfying contrast in relation to Reierson’s more austere black-and-white efforts and are sure to attract many of the horse-loving guests who visit this new gallery.


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