VOICE Magazine: January 7, 2022

Page 20


Local News for a Global Village | www.VoiceSB.com

January 7, 2022

Abstract Art Collective @ Grayspace

10th Anniversary Exhibition D

By Daisy Scott / VOICE

Photos courtesy of AAC

ANCING LINES, COMPELLING SCULPTURES, AND SHAPES RESEMBLING IMAGES ONE MAY SEE IN THEIR DREAMS adorn the walls of REH GraySpace Gallery this month as the Abstract Art Collective hosts its 10th Anniversary Exhibition. Featuring the works of over 60 individuals, this exhibition not only serves as a celebration of abstract art as a style, but highlights the sheer talent of our local community. The show will remain on view through January 28th, with a special public reception from 4pm to 7:30pm on Saturday, January 8th. “There is something for everyone... if you love bright color, you’ll find a wall of drama. If your palette choice is soft and ethereal you won’t be disappointed, and there are a few surprises in the mix,” said exhibition curator and AAC member Joyce Wilson. “The exhibition is a beautiful display of unique art that will engage the viewer in examination and dialog.” Established by local artists J.T. Turner and Thore Engren, the AAC promotes awareness and appreciation for abstract art and artists throughout Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. The group also regularly hosts exhibitions and partakes Riviera by Laurie MacMillan in events that support area non-profits. Beginning with just twelve members, the group has rapidly grown to include over 100 artists who work in varying mediums. This January’s 10th Anniversary Exhibition serves as a testament to these artists’ talent as individual creators and as a collective. And, after close to two years of creating art amidst a pandemic, the show will provide viewers and artists alike the opportunity to engage with original works on an intimate, in-person basis. “The Abstract Art Collective survives because it ‘rolls with the punches,’” commented AAC Board Co-Chair Eugene Galles. “When the pandemic first hit, we switched gears to increase our virtual presence. Through

online events such as lectures and art critiques, we strengthened our community and eased the pain of isolation. Interestingly, the anniversary show will be the first time some members will be meeting in person.” Upon entering REH GraySpace Gallery, visitors are immediately surrounded by walls of bold, original paintings, prints, sculptures, photography, assemblages, and collages that reflect the individual A Brief Conversation by Jo Merit skills and perspective of each artist. Rather than center the show around a unifying theme, AAC members were asked to submit two works for consideration. Local artist Rick Stich then selected one piece from each submission, with Wilson curating the works into a comprehensive exhibition. Each displayed work possesses a distinctive energy, utilizing shapes, swirls, colors, and represented movement that evoke different emotional responses in viewers. Some works can be clearly interpreted as abstract interpretations of familiar sights, such as an ocean shoreline or a person wearing sunglasses. Others forgo real world similarities entirely, instead capturing unique feelings and ideas within their brushstrokes. “Curating the show was a unique challenge [in] pairing arrangements with like sensibilities and juxtaposing color so the viewer is drawn into each grouping and lingers to explore individual pieces,” shared Wilson. Gallery visitors who attend the AAC’s public reception will also be able to enjoy premium, handcrafted wines from Dark Water Winery as they explore the gallery.

Twisted Memory, by Chris Seaton

REH GraySpace Gallery, 210 Gray Ave. Open 1pm to 5pm, Fridays - Sundays, and by appt. www.abstractartcollective.com

We can find wonder in friendships By Dennis Patrick Slattery / Special to VOICE


OW PAST MY MID-70S, I find myself reflecting on many things that I had taken for granted as simply part of life’s fabric. But lately I have become curious about friendships that I enjoy and like to nurture. A friendship is a mysterious, marvelous spirit in human beings. Many of my closest friendships are sources of hope, and they often surprise me. I guess I enjoy being surprised by friendship. A deep friendship allows us to see and become more of who we are. They refresh us and we hope the feeling is reciprocal. I was surprised in discovering many years ago that the woman I have been married to for 53 years is handsdown, my best friend. What a treasure: to be married to one’s best friend. Through her I catch glimpses of my strongest gifts and my persistent disabilities—those places in my interior life where I must excavate further. When I befriend someone new, further dimensions of myself, perhaps never

explored before, rise to the surface. It is as if in learning of the others’ stories, where their deepest identity resides, I re-story my own life; the plot does indeed both thicken and broaden.

us learning how to forgive ourselves and others; a friend can deepen one’s capacity for compassion and console us when we are challenged by a life circumstance — loss, illness, a change in fortune, a betrayal — that faced alone, would overwhelm us. Now while we don’t want to turn our friends into our therapists, nonetheless, a friend who has learned the art of listening can be a healing presence when our wounds again begin to suppurate.

Friendships can also soften some of the hard edges of our sacred opinions, prejudices and unfounded assertions; a real friend will not be timid about challenging us as much as agreeing with us. Through friends we may gain or become aware of a world larger than our own interior compound has allowed entry. Dennis Patrick A friend’s warmth can Certain friends can reveal to also expose the stranger in Slattery is Emeritus professor us models of thought, beliefs us to a relationship that can in Mythologial Studies at and models of behavior, heal where those persistent Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, Calif. even serve on occasion as afflictions reside. Quite Elders to guide us on our possibly, the stranger in life’s pilgrimage. They can, in us can, in some instances, effect, alter the existential syntax that shapes be the wound that guards us against us. becoming vulnerable to new registers of understanding. On occasion, a friend can model for

I say this because a true friend has the resilience not to surrender their authentic self if it contrasts or competes with ours. Their very authenticity can reveal to us where we may have harbored an inauthentic self whose time to be exposed and expunged or modified, is overdue. All this is to suggest that perhaps our friends have been given to us as gifts that embody a divine presence before us and a spiritual reality gesturing within us. Yes, a friend may be the source of offering a helping hand; but more: a faithful friend may be the one who extends to us a helping heart. And, as a friend, we accept a moral responsibility to be available to the suffering and the joys of another. A deep and abiding friendship always implies some risk, even a faith, that one not betray the confidences or conflicts of the other. True friends both agree to nurture and cultivate the same co-operative bond of respect in the sense that each extends their own life’s richness to the other in a spirit of generosity and trust.

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