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“Together We Rise: Artists and Responders of the CZU Fire”


Sam Clarkson, Jennifer Cordery, Liz Payne, Devi Pride, Mary Tartaro, Jane Wrankle

The CZU Lightning Complex fire was the greatest natural disaster to befall Santa Cruz County since the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989.             

One group of deeply affected community members were local artists who not only lost homes, but art studios, equipment and work.  This exhibition features 6 of these artists who have demonstrated resilience in the wake of disaster to go on to produce new work as they put their lives and homes back together. This exhibition, made possible by grant funding from and collaboration with the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County and the Community Recovery Art and Design Pilot program of Santa Cruz City Arts, also serves to highlight the community that stepped up to support its residents in their time of need. Civic and Non Profit Organizations, small groups and private citizens are honored through artists’ testimonials,  thanking those that gave so much to them throughout their evacuation, loss and recovery. It also serves to inform the public on available resources and celebrate our compassionate and supportive community.
Through participation in this show, each artist is awarded a small grant to help them renew their studio practice. Art making is a most healing activity to engage in during times of great stress. The work in this show is a manifestation of this engagement. Some work is themed around the fire. Other work marks a much needed return to life as previously known. These 6 artists share an enhanced sense of belonging within a strong community that embraced them when they felt that all was lost.
This display falls on the two year anniversary of the fire. The Felix Kulpa Gallery closed around the same time, two years ago when Covid hit. This exhibition also marks the reopening of the newly renovated gallery and hopes for enhanced creative community engagement in the future.
 

Mary Tartaro

Artist/Curator

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Dani Torvik, Painter

October 8th - November 30th, 2022

In my paintings, I create microcosms that integrate visuals gathered from my immediate surroundings, memories from lived-in environments, impressions of architecture, and indications of my flesh and body. I include in my work references to familiar and pervasive Western folklore that often become deeply ingrained in the psyche from childhood. I comment on the alluring aesthetic qualities of these stories while critiquing their more harmful properties. One such theme is the misogyny reflected in the willful romanticism and idealization of gender roles and female bodies against the backdrop of intoxicating and mystical landscapes and architecture. I recognize the influence of these depictions in many aspects of my life and aim to evaluate the lingering effects while repurposing their aesthetics and contexts. I explore the theme of lost innocence as it relates to coming to terms with the dangers of internalizing these stories by fusing contrasting personal images that represent my particular pre vs. post innocence stages. Parades of confetti commingle and contend with deep water-colored, foreboding orbs. Additionally, by employing architectural motifs from environments that I have experienced, both real and fictional, I explore notions of home, belonging, and permanence as they relate to my own body and the physical spaces it inhabits.