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Santa Barbara Museum of Art exhibits works gifted/acquired in the past two years
Olaf Breuning, Grid Spit, 2009. C-print, ed. 1/3. SBMA, Museum Purchase with funds provided by the Buddy Taub Foundation, Dennis A. Roach and Jill Roach, Directors. Courtesy the artist and Michael Benevento, Los Angeles.

SANTA BARBARA, CA.- Embracing a broad range of artists, years, techniques, and themes, this exhibition offers viewers a rich and exciting experience of color photographs by emerging and established artists alike that have come into the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s collection within the past two years by gifts of art and acquisition funds and that are on view at the Museum for the very first time. A Brilliant Spectrum presents with its 30 works a select and concise survey of the course of color photography, from its emergence as an accepted artistic tool in the 1960s and 70s, with vivid color photographs by the established artists Evelyn Hofer, Kwame Brathwaite, and William Eggleston, up to today’s most conceptually-driven practices as seen in the seemingly-abstract work of Hannah Karsen and Olaf Breuning. Thanks to the generosity of patrons who have given works of art and acquisition funds, the Museum has been able to significantly deepen and expand its holdings in the field of color photography, a groundbreaking and enduringly relevant mode of expression in the art of the past 50 years.

In the 1980s, UCSB professor George Legrady was among the first artists to join nascent computer and photographic technologies. His prescient 1988 series based on male television broadcasters remains a timely reminder of the electronically-driven power of media.

Asako Narahashi’s vision of the bay of Tokyo with Mount Fuji in the background harks back to 19th-century Japanese prints by artists such as Hokusai and Hiroshige, while providing a 21st-century image of beauty touched with unease made possible only by contemporary color photography technologies.

Todd Gray’s Purnima (2018) provides a visually enrapturing trio of conjoined images that raise probing questions about how nature and culture are represented in the traditional Western genres of portraiture and landscape, while Seton Smith’s lyrical diptych of winter branches in the snow represents how recent advances in production techniques have allowed photography to assume larger dimensions and physical presence than ever before.

Distinguished artists whose work also appears in the exhibition include Tom Bianchi, John Chiara, Pascal Kern, David Levinthal, Jean-Luc Mylayne, Dennis Oppenheim, and Susan Rankaitis, all of whose art presents an extraordinary array of scale and approach that demonstrates the vivid possibilities and potential of contemporary color photography.

A Brilliant Spectrum also honors and celebrates a unique spirit of giving to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. The Department of Photography and New Media deeply thanks the donors who made the acquisition of these works possible: Betsy Atwater; Jill and John Bishop; Jane and Michael Wilson and The Dana & Albert R. Broccoli Charitable Foundation; Timothy A. Eaton; Elaine and Michael Gray; Charles and Betsy Newman; Susan Rankaitis and Robbert Flick; SBMA PhotoFutures; SBMA’s newly established Eric A. Skipsey Fund; Buddy Taub Foundation, Dennis A. Roach and Jill Roach, Directors; Carole Thompson Fine Art; Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin; Susan and Bruce Worster; and Michael Yanover.

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