Years before the Funk Zone got its name, the neighborhood’s future as an arts destination was predicted by MichaelKate Interiors, the showroom at the corner of Santa Barbara and Yanonali streets where Michael McColm and his staff display the best in contemporary, modern, and transitional furnishings. From the beginning, the store has been more than a place for furniture. Amid the masterpieces of modern design, MichaelKate has always hung work by the county’s top artists in tableau designed to envision how their art might look in a beautiful Santa Barbara home.
MichaelKate was recognized as a forerunner of the Funk Zone art scene by Santa Barbara Beautiful with the City of Santa Barbara Arts Advisory Committee’s Business of Art Award in 2013. On the heels of that success, and with an eye to developing a curatorial program that gives artists the highest level of support and recognition, the space was reimagined this summer as the MichaelKate Gallery, and six artists have been chosen to represent the gallery’s core mission. Patti Post, Douglas DaFoe, Brad Nack, Patrick Hall, Adam Brown, and Tom Post all now have major works on display there in an exhibit that will run through 2019 and beyond, with new pieces deployed at intervals to freshen and supplement the initial grouping.
The mix of new artists with new work by familiar names makes this show particularly appealing. DaFoe’s elegant modernism manifests through marquetry, the use of painstakingly prepared geometric shapes in wood to create complex, highly pleasing designs. Post’s “Post-Modern” paintings employ figurative devices to achieve bold abstract effects. Hall’s extraordinary ceramics deploy bold shapes and distinctive surfaces to create strong statements. Brown’s photographs are printed in a High Dynamic Range process on aluminum panels to achieve a kind of brilliance and translucency ordinarily associated with painting. There are several major recent works by Nack that show the well-known reindeer man breaking boundaries and revealing the intensity he can achieve when working at a large scale. The overall impact of the show, and of the new gallery initiative, once again puts MichaelKate at the forefront of the Funk Zone scene.