‘Visual Pleasure’

Featuring works by UCSB alumnae, a new exhibit in the Cheadle Hall lobby examines themes of physical and cultural place

The works are diverse in size, scope and medium, but they share a common thread: they were all created by alumnae of the UC Santa Barbara Department of Art’s MFA program.

The pieces, from prints to video installations, comprise the fifth exhibition being held in the lobby gallery of UCSB’s Cheadle Hall — and the first featuring former MFA students.

Curator and artist Jane Mulfinger, a professor of art at UCSB, worked with a committee to select works tied together by a shared theme. For this iteration, all of the pieces deal with ever-changing notions of sense of place. “Common to all of the artists is an exacting articulation of sensorial imagery,” said Mulfinger. “It is through the artists’ clarity of expression that we experience visual pleasure, and have the opportunity to think deeply about the content of the work.”

Featured artist Ann Diener ’05 maps the layers of history of a particular place in her large-scale drawings. Her series deals with water in California as well as the landscape in Los Angeles. Painter Penelope Gottlieb ’04 creates colorful renderings of extinct botanical plant life based on historical descriptions.

Participating artist Maria Rendon, ’14 paints abstract shapes in muted colors on panels and paper. “I am attracted by the notion that our present reality will exist only as an illusion in an instant, a day or a year later,” she commented.

There are also two video works playing on continuous loop in the Cheadle lobby. One by Jenalee Harmon ’15, in her own description, deals with “the immaterial experience between states of visual agitation and materialized consciousness.” Her pieces explore color fields, pattern recognition and the digital produced in the analog. Video artist Emily Thomas ’15 navigates the evolution of spiritual beliefs within subcultures of California and Europe.

The exhibition continues until June, with a possible extension through September. 

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