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Past Exhibits

January 30 through April 25, 2010
Phoebe Brunner and Pamela Kendall Schiffer

Elverhøj Museum of History and Art is pleased to present “Essential Landscapes,”an exhibition of new works by Santa Barbara artists Phoebe Brunner and Pamela Kendall Schiffer. Both artists explore the expansive landscapes of California's Central Coast. In addition, Schiffer presents images of Wyoming and secluded Hollister Ranch on the Gaviota Coast north of Santa Barbara.

A reception for the artists will be held on Saturday January 30 from 4 to 6 PM. There is no charge for admission.

Both artists seek to capture quintessential aspects of landscape, but their finished work differs markedly. Schiffer favors intimate, detailed compositions, often of simple subjects defined by light, whether soft and atmospheric or sharply bright. She works primarily in oils, watercolors, and pastels, although her Montana and Wyoming pieces are multi-layered original prints. Brunner, on the other hand, favors large canvasses and bold colors and contrasts in order to re-imagine a specific locale. Her vistas, painted in glowing oils, are both realistic and surrealistic.

A native Californian, Schiffer has lived in Santa Barbara for over 25 years. She earned a B.A. from UCSB in 1982, majoring in Fine Art and studying painting and ceramics. In 2008-2009 she collaborated on a series of original lithographs with master printer Geoffrey Harvey at Sunlight Graphics in Livingston, Montana. In 2008 Schiffer was Artist-in-Residence at the Ucross Foundation, in Clearmont, Wyoming.

Schiffer explains what her art tries to accomplish: “My paintings continue to study the landscape and ocean areas of Santa Barbara as defined by light. Some are subtle, reflective and atmospheric studies, while others are very direct, focusing on the effects of full sunlight or moonlight on something as stark as an agave stalk. I am moved by the power of simple things in my observations of nature, be it a lone drifting cloud, birds soaring, a stand of trees in the distance, backlit and glowing, or the sublime blue of the sky. My paintings reflect my sense of things beautiful and profound, joyful and optimistic, quiet, still and timeless.”

Brunner was educated at the California Institute of the Arts (Chouinard); Universidad de Guadalajara; Otis Art Institute; and UCSB, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts there in 1972. She describes what she means by re-imagining landscapes: “By creating an alternative view to traditional landscape painting, my re-conceived landscapes of the American West, simultaneously real and surreal, become an offering to the viewer to experience our surroundings with a new perspective. In addition to tapping into a huge visual reservoir of memories, I utilize photographs, field notes, and thumbnail sketches, but primarily my imagination.... My imagery is comprised of the indigenous topography, botany, geology, and light. However, the work is not a documentation of an actual place, but rather a re-imagining of a unique site. The viewer is led to wonder where these landscapes exist, with a longing to visit, and at the same time search in their own subconscious to find the location.”

Both artists have exhibited in numerous shows and won awards for their art. Recent solo shows by Pamela Schiffer include Hollister Ranch, Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica (2009) and  Of This World: New Paintings, Easton Gallery, Santa Barbara (2008). Group shows include The View from Here, Atkinson gallery, Santa Barbara City College, and Holiday Show, Easton Gallery, Santa Barbara (2009); Collecting for the Millennium, Ventura County Museum of History and Holiday Show: About Clouds, Easton Gallery, Santa Barbara (2008).

Phoebe Brunner recently had one-woman shows at Rovzar Gallery, Seattle (2009) and Hespe Gallery, San Francisco (2008). Recent group shows include Edge: Santa Barbara County Artists Respond, Santa Barbara, A View from Here: A Group Exhibition of Contemporary Landscapes and Cityscapes, Judson Gallery, Los Angles, and Eyes Open, Galerie Eye, Carpinteria (2008).

“Essential Landscapes” runs from January 30 through April 18, 2010.

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