The Santa Barbara Arts District welcomed a new gallery at 10 West Anapamu Street this spring when Jan Ziegler and 20 other artists, many of them members of the city’s Abstract Art Collective, pooled their resources and took over the lease of a spacious storefront that formerly housed a travel store. In a departure from the dealer-based business models of some other galleries nearby, the approach at 10 West involves artists directly. Rather than having to negotiate for inclusion in various themed group shows or wait for that elusive and perhaps inefficient solo exhibition, the artists in the current group of 21 exhibiting members each get to show a significant number of works on a regular basis throughout the year. “Some artists show every other month,” Ziegler told me, “while others show every third month.” Although guest artists are also represented from time to time, the primary goal is to give consistent exposure to the people who have made a commitment to the enterprise.
While it is a cooperative gallery, Ziegler reports that at the first meeting, the group voted unanimously to resist being associated with anything less than the highest professional standards when it comes to the use of the space and the design of the exhibitions. “Our vision was to be an ‘anti-cooperative’ with the look and feel of a clean modern gallery,” Ziegler told me, emphasizing their goal to showcase work that is both abstract and representational, 2D and 3D, but always contemporary in style and presentation.
Ziegler, who also curates the MichaelKate showroom in the Funk Zone, is a second-generation Santa Barbara artist. Her dad, Bill Ziegler, was a working cartoonist who was for many years responsible for drawing the Mary Worth syndicated comic strip. Bill Ziegler shared a studio on State Street with Bud Bottoms and worked closely with another prolific painter and printmaker, Gary Chafe. Growing up around such talent gave Jan Ziegler the confidence to make her living as a graphic designer in Austin, Texas, for 20 years before returning to her hometown with the hope of following in the family tradition by contributing to the city’s arts community.
Current members of the 10 West group include Karin Aggeler, Sophie MJ Cooper, Marilyn McRae, Karen Zazon, Madeline Garrett, Pat McGinnis, Laurie MacMillan, Rick Doehring, Beth Schmohr, Mary Dee Thompson, Maria Miller, Iben G. Vestergaard, Stephen Robeck, Pat Calonne, Marlene Struss, Joan Rosenberg-Dent, Diane Giles, Stuart Ochiltree, Henry Rasmussen, and Penny Schuchman Arntz. Followers of the Santa Barbara art scene will recognize many of the names here, as the list reads like a page torn from a who’s who of our elite contemporary artists. Whether you are looking for one of Rosenberg-Dent’s marvelous geometric/kinetic tabletop pieces or an earthier, fossil-like abstraction by Michael Arntz, now there’s a place to see and acquire the work of great contemporary sculptors like these on a regular basis. The range in painting is equally large and compelling, with Vestergaard’s shimmering abstractions sharing this month’s harvest with Cooper’s realistic New York cityscapes and undulating images from the brushes of Struss.