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Exhibition at Westmont Museum of Art to Expose ‘Invisible Realms’

Thirteen diverse artists from around the world will exhibit their work as part of “Invisible Realms: Encountering the Sacred,” opening this Thursday and running through Oct. 12 in the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art. Most of the artists will be available at a free, public reception from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29.

The featured artists are Lynn Aldrich of Los Angeles, Fabian Astore of Sydney, Australia, Adam Belt of Carlsbad, Kent Anderson Butler of Los Angeles, Linda Ekstrom of Santa Barbara, Hadassa Goldvicht of Jerusalem, Mary Heebner of Santa Barbara, Father Bill Moore of Glendale, Linda Saccoccio of Santa Barbara, Susan Savage of Santa Barbara, Marie Schoeff of Santa Barbara, Duncan Simcoe of Riverside and Michael Tracy of Houston.

Savage, who has taught at Westmont since 1991, will retire at the end of the year. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UC Santa Barbara, and has taught at La Colina Junior High School and Santa Barbara City College.

“All of our shows this year have a spiritual theme, and Savage’s work is a wonderful way to begin that exploration through what spirituality is,” said Judy Larson, director of the museum. “Removed from common use, the domestic objects represented in Susan’s paintings are transformed into symbols of openness, reflection and divine interaction.”

Aldrich, originally from Texas, earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina and an MFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She says she makes art that communicates “authentic transcendence.”

Astore, a media artist, received his master of arts degree with distinction from the University of New South Wales. He will exhibit “The Threshold,” which was a joint winner of the Blake Prize, given to artists whose work addresses religion and spirituality.

Belt, who earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of San Diego and an MFA from Claremont Graduate University, enjoys using experimental forms of art, creating mystifying objects that remind us we are small pieces of a large and active environment.

Butler, who earned an MFA from CSU Fullerton and teaches at Azusa Pacific University, has produced numerous videos and video installations. He often uses his own body as the focus of his videos, defining what it means to be human and possess a soul.

Ekstrom, who earned a bachelor of arts degree and MFA from UC Santa Barbara where she lectures, uses altered Bibles to create sculptures. She reassembles pages of Bibles that have been shredded, sliced, twined, twisted and balled to express different ways of interpreting sacred texts.

Goldvicht earned a bachelor of arts in printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She also attended the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Her video art creates and modifies rituals that make connections between the spiritual and physical.

Heebner, who graduated from the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara where she also pursued her MFA, is a trained painter and distinguished author. Viewers will encounter Heebner’s creations layer by layer, slowly discovering the depth of her artistic imagination.

The Rev. Moore, a Roman Catholic priest who serves at the Ministry of the Arts in San Dimas, says his art has made him a better priest, and his faith a better artist. He earned a bachelor of arts degree at Saint Mary’s University before pursuing a master’s degree in theology at the Washington Theological Coalition. His artistic style is rooted in abstract expressionism.

Saccoccio, whose artwork is influenced by Eastern religions and yoga rituals, graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and earned an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She paints planes of bright colors often structured as broad stripes to form the backdrop for a mystical handwriting that seems to float above her abstract geometric paintings.

Schoeff, who has taught for many years at Santa Barbara City College and Westmont, graduated from CSU Sacramento and earned an MFA at Hunter College. She refers to her drawings as intensely private and personal traces. She says the very act of drawing is physically and mentally transformative.

Simcoe, who chairs the art department at California Baptist University, will exhibit his figural “Black Drawings,” which explore the biblical narrative of Abraham and his sons, a point of both unity and controversy among Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Tracy, whose work emerges in response to his Catholic upbringing, creates stations of the cross that are deeply physical. Tearing, puncturing and cutting, Tracy builds up textural, almost grotesque, surfaces. His monochromatic paintings seem to reflect Christ’s physical torment.

The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. It is closed Sundays and college holidays. For more information, click here or contact the museum at 805.565.6162.

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.

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