Tuesday, October 16 , 2018, 5:21 am | Fair 49º

 
 
 
 

Sullivan Goss Celebrates Unique Santa Barbara History With Fiesta-themed Exhibition

A painting, which is on display at Sullivan Goss, depicting Santa Barbara’s hybrid culture. The gallery’s July 2016 exhibition celebrates the history of Old Spanish Days Fiesta.
A painting, which is on display at Sullivan Goss, depicting Santa Barbara’s hybrid culture. The gallery’s July 2016 exhibition celebrates the history of Old Spanish Days Fiesta. (Sullivan Goss image)

For the past 92 years, Santa Barbara has organized a summer celebration of the area’s cultural history officially known as Old Spanish Days Fiesta. For eight days beginning Aug. 3, the city concentrates its perennial delights to create a roving party of historic proportion.

This year, Sullivan Goss will add a taste of the art that has helped to define the visual identity of our local culture: mission paintings created from the 1890s to the 1920s; paintings of Spanish and Mexican dancers from the ’10s to the ’40s; and later more modern takes on our unique hybrid of Spanish, Mexican and American culture.

Since the 18th century, Santa Barbara’s had a hybrid culture. Colonized by Spanish soldiers who were often born in present day Mexico, built by the Chumash, Americans from the east coast and the midwest and even a substantial Chinese population, Santa Barbara's authentic story has had many authors and its visual history has many images.

The Sullivan Goss exhibition takes each in their turn and all in a Fiesta spirit of fun. There are paintings and photographs of Mission San Carlos Boromeo from the 19th century when it was still a ruin.

There are later romanticized images of the missions as seductive nocturnes and as garden dreams.

There are Spanish dancers, musicians and revelers by American artists like W.H.D. Koerner, Dan Lutz, Richmond Kelsey, Mary DeNeale Morgan, Jean Swiggett and Theodore Jackman; Mexican dancers by the Spanish-born Mexican painter Jesús Helguera; and even a contemporary painting of a pre-Colonial Mexican past reimagined through a modernist lens by Angela Perko.

These works of art celebrate the common joys of our unique culture: our architecture, our dances, our costumes, our food... our Fiesta.

They are colorful, joyful, romantic and strangely soulful. On 1st Thursday, July 7, the gallery will host Tony Ybarra and Kristen Reed, who will play selections of Spanish guitar music with vocal accompaniment.

Artists with work on display in the exhibition include J. Barry Greene, Charles Harmon, Jesús Helguera, Theodore Jackman, Richmond Irwin Kelsey, Orpha Klinker, W.H.D. Koerner, Dan Lutz, Mary DeNeale Morgan, Angela Perko, Mary Stevens, Jean Swiggett and Gardner Symons.

For a digital preview of the exhibition, or to watch a promotional video for the exhibit, visit www.sullivangoss.com.

Nathan Vonk represents Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery.

 

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