The 7th annual show by A Community of Artists (ACOA) at the Felix Kulpa Gallery at 107 Elm Street in downtown Santa Cruz opens Friday, October 25, and runs through Sunday, November 24. The Opening Reception is on First Friday, November 1, from 5-9. The art group's name comes from the last chapter of esteemed member, teacher and photographer Ted Orland's book, "The View from the Studio Door," where he discusses art groups in which the making of the art itself is valued above all and, ideally, in an environment of trust, support and companionship. ACOA has exemplified this model for 30 years -- meeting regularly for a potluck and sharing and discussing new work, ideas and techniques, which in turn stimulates even more creativity and productivity.
The show also features a raffle where all proceeds will go to support the on-going operations of the Felix Kulpa Gallery. Each artist will donate one piece of art to the show's "raffle wall." The show and the raffle will be great opportunities to find unique and special holiday gifts.
No themes are ever imposed upon (or desired) by the art group, the members are diverse in visual styles, subject matter and media. But in perusing this year's work some themes reveal themselves, nonetheless. Space, expansive vistas, startling skies and elemental forms have captured a number of members' attention. Here is a sampler...
Karen Kvenvold Bailey's annual pilgrimage to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, has yielded starkly beautiful images of the island's wind-swept landscape and rugged isolation. Tim Kelly is also drawn to panoramas where the sky looms large, the distances seem vast, and the elements can be unsettling, stirring a desire in him (and the viewer) to go in directions unknown.
Ken Koenig's infrared photographs accentuate the drama of the landscape and night skies of the high desert country in eastern Oregon and Nevada, populated with ancient, sculptural bristlecone pine. As Artist in Residence at Great Basin National Park, Lisa Rose photographed a collection of wonders in dark night skies, the oldest living trees in the world, high mountains and secret valleys. It should be noted, too, that Ken and Lisa have been gracious hosts for the art group for the last 20 years.
Judith Johnson Darrow captures beautiful vistas, taking us to France in her brilliant-hued watercolor of the rooftops of Puy d'Eveque at sunset. She will also be showing small oil abstract pieces of the Boardwalk. Jack Johnson's intriguing photographs explore ancient stones in the Carnac area along the French coast, as well as in England and Scotland. Evocative, blurred night scenes of the Javanese savanna are among Sara Friedlander's images, as well as mixed media paintings of collaged images, such as a Kawah Ijen sulphur mine at 2 a.m., and sculptured canvases of a Kyoto bamboo forest.
Ted Orland's late-night walks around his Seabright neighborhood with a point-and-shoot camera result in images of local scenes lit only by moonlight and streetlight, revealing their essence and eliminating unnecessary detail. Jim MacKenzie's photographic meanderings have been guided by his keen eye for "found" compositions and for discovering extraordinary images in ordinary places.
In contrast, Catharina Marlowe works with antique photographic processes, such as photograms and cyanotypes. Cyanotypes seemed a natural choice for her to capture the historical and fleeting quality of Turkey's ancient civilizations. The dominance of blues there also meshed well with the unique blue of the cyanotype process. Her works are on paper and silk, as are AV Pike's images. Using the tools of photography and printmaking, AV Pike imprints multiple layers of silk and paper to create wonderfully intricate, transparent, iridescent wall hangings and scarves. AV (Annie) is also a charter member of the group, one of the original organizers, back in the mid-80s.
From ancient civilizations to fears about the survival of our present one, Helen Wallis's striking photographs of Iceland's glaciers and icebergs and stunning black beaches also gave her a powerful and poignant sense that all that grandeur will not likely be there for her grandchildren, or any future inhabitants of the planet, because of the increasingly rapid melting of the glaciers.
The concept of space takes on an entirely different meaning in Mark Wainer's work. After 50 years as a photographer and world traveler, he is on a journey of exploration of line, form and color and will be displaying his abstract digital paintings created on a blank digital canvas, using a stylus as a brush and printed on textured paper.
Come on this adventure of visual delights from all over the world, and outer space as well...and enjoy the new creations that have sprung from A Community of Artists, Santa Cruz's oldest visual art support group.
The FELIX KULPA GALLERY’s address is: 107 Elm Street, Santa Cruz, California. The Gallery is located right behind STREETLIGHT RECORDS on Pacific Avenue, directly across from the METRO BUS STATION. The Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, 12 noon until 5PM. For Appointments or information call Gallery Director Robbie Schoen at (408)373-2854.