03 • Lum Art Magazine • Winter 2021

Page 28

Bright World Jane Gottlieb by Debra Herrick


ane Gottlieb loves color. So much so that just about everything in her life is vivid, bright and intensely colored—from her clothes, cars and furniture to the interior and exterior walls of her Santa Barbara home.

The colors in her wardrobe like the colors in her photography are saturated and eye-catching, but make no mistake, her artistic work is not a trove of psychedelic stoner posters, they’re images steeped in the intersection of painting and photography and markers of the evolution of analog to digital image-making. They also embody an earnestly Californian vision of leisure, landscapes, car culture and monuments. “Emerging in the late 1980s as a significant addition to the development of West Coast photography, Jane Gottlieb’s work sounds a varied yet subtle coda to the concerns of the Los Angeles art scene that prevailed from the late 1960s to the mid1970s,” writes Laguna Art Museum’s late chief curator Michael McManus in an introduction to the exhibition catalogue for Gottlieb’s first big show in 1988. Originally from Los Angeles, Gottlieb studied painting and art history from 1964 to 1968 at UC Berkeley, University of Syracuse in Florence, Italy and UCLA. She then studied graphic design at School of Visual Arts in New York City, launching a career in advertising that culminated with Gottlieb owning her own agency in Los Angeles. At 35, Gottlieb landed the Laguna show, left the ad business and started working fulltime as an artist. Her early series on LA’s car culture led to further photographic collections of swimming pools, gardens and architecture. Gottlieb composed classical vignettes of Southern California living that pushed the viewer’s perspective, often using a fisheye lens to further distort and embellish reality. She traveled the world with her SLR and catalogued thousands of images. Then, Gottlieb discovered a process to alter color on film that over the next four decades she’d develop into her signature and bridge from analog to digital photography.