Sunday, November 19 , 2017, 3:42 am | Fair 42º

Posted on June 21, 2017 | 9:00 a.m.

Exhibit Paints Portrait of Modernism and Santa Barbara

Works of local artists on display at Westmont museum

Kenneth Jewesson’s Outer Module Variation” (1980), acrylic on paper.
Kenneth Jewesson’s Outer Module Variation” (1980), acrylic on paper. (Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art)

Source: Scott Craig for Westmont College

The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art features the works of more than two dozen artists who have ties to the Santa Barbara community in How Modernism Came to Santa Barbara: 1945-1990, July 6-Aug. 5.

There will be a free, public opening reception 4-6 p.m. Thursday, July 6, at the museum, 955 La Paz Road.

The artists, many of whom still live locally, have served as art faculty at UCSB, Westmont and Santa Barbara City College.

In addition, they've acted as founding members of local art museums, including Contemporary Arts Forum (now Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara), the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Westmont museum.

“These artists were trailblazers in Santa Barbara during this era; turning away from the typical California landscape or classical painting was an act of both experimentation and self-fulfillment,” says Judy Larson, R. Anthony Askew professor of art history and museum director.

“Many found themselves looking toward and actively exhibiting in New York City and Los Angeles next to artists like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell," Larson said.

"However, they were also extremely active in building up the art scene in Santa Barbara County,” she said.

Featured artists are: R. Anthony Askew, James Armstrong, Michael Arntz, Herbert Bayer, Ciel Bergman, John Carlander, William Dole, Richard Dunlap, Michael Dvortcsak, Robert Frame, James Jarvaise, Kenneth Jewesson and Sheldon Kaganoff.

Also, Winston McGee, John Moses, Kenneth Nack, Kenneth Noland, Channing Peake, Aage Pedersen, Jens Pedersen, Paul Perlmutter, Joan Tanner, David Trowbridge, Guy Williams and Seyburn Zorthian.

“Each artist is essential to highlight because they expose another dimension of art history which took place in our city of Santa Barbara,” Larson said.

“Modernism and abstraction were alive and thriving, not only in the bigger art meccas of the United States, but here on the Central Coast," she said.

“I am the most excited about sharing the narratives of these men and women who created powerful, abstracted art in a time when it truly meant going against the grain of what was expected of a Santa Barbara artist,” Larson said.

The exhibition features media ranging from painting to monoprint to collage and other mixed media.

For this summer exhibition, the museum will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1-4 p.m. Saturdays. It is closed Sundays.

For more information, visit or contact the museum at 565-6162.

— Scott Craig for Westmont College.

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