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Views and Visions: Celebrating California

May 18 - June 30, 2006

 

(above: Cory Steffen, Lonely Euchalyptus, oil, 38 x 14 inches)

Westmont closes out the Reynolds Gallery season with a celebration of California's beauty through a special invitational show featuring some of the region's finest landscape painters. "Views and Visions: Celebrating California," will be at the gallery from May 18 through June 30, 2006

The gallery typically ends the season with a Santa Barbara invitational, and this year will start a new tradition of featuring a Westmont alum. Cory Steffen is art director for Santa Barbara-based Flavia Company, an art licensing company and design studio. He graduated from Westmont in 1996. (right: Cory Steffen, Five Oaks, oil, 38 x 14 inches)

"Recently, I've been doing landscapes, big clouds, wheat fields, middle-America," says Steffen. "I've been drawn to California's golden hills and oak trees as of late."

"Both the paintings he has in the exhibit really celebrate the unique landscape of colors of California," says Tony Askew, Westmont art professor and gallery director. "This show is designed to celebrate many aspects of California, including paintings of the rodeo, flamenco dancer, Ballard Store, local landscape and, of course, the traditional California poppy, Santa Barbara Mission and the Moreton Bay fig tree."

The exhibit also features the oil paintings of well-known Santa Barbara artist Meredith Brooks Abbott and her daughter, Whitney Abbott.

Twenty-two different artists are featured in the exhibit, utilizing photography, print, water color and oil paintings.

Other participating artists associated with the Westmont Art Council and Art Department are Sandy Leue Rogers, wife of Westmont Physics Professor Warren Rogers, Barry Berkus, Patricia Chidlaw, Tom Cummings, Jim Dow, Priscilla Fossek, Karen Gruszka, Jeremy Harper, Ruth Ellen Hoag, David Holt, Joan Landis, Wayne McCall, Leonardo Nunez, Karin Shelton, Erling Sjovold, Garrett Speirs, Cory Steffen, Nicole Strasburg, Arturo Tello, Karin Young.

"In all this year's exhibits we celebrated California," says Askew, "starting out with Richard Diebenkorn and his unique take on the Santa Cruz Islands and then Pasadena artist R. Kenton Nelson who celebrated the nostalgia of California with his kind of 30s and 40s New Yorker imagery, then culminating in this year's "Views and Visions" to celebrate various aspects of California."

In the mid-1980s Professors John Carlander and Askew had a dream to build Westmont's art program into a live and influential force on campus. Unfortunately, at that time no art program existed. Art was not an available major, nor did Westmont havea building dedicated to art classes.

With the cooperation of local art patrons and associates of the college, Professors Askew and Carlander developed the Art Council to raise funds for Westmont's art program. Through various fundraisers, including summer art venture camps, the five-member committee raised enough money to renovate one of the Deane School buildings into the Westmont Art Center and Reynolds Gallery.

The gallery opened on January 19, 1986, with the exhibition of the art of Corita Kent, an influential artist from Los Angeles.

A self-governing body, the Arts Council serves as a support resource for the Westmont art program and Reynolds Gallery. Approximately 30 volunteers from the community donate hours of service for gallery events and college activities. The arts council raises funds, plans exhibit-related events and receptions, and its members "adopt" art students in an informal mentoring program. The council's deep involvement in arts education and its support of Westmont College is gratefully acknowledged.

 

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