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Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum becomes Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara
Dasha Shishkin, Wasted little weasel, 2012, Mixed media on mylar, 30 x 42 in., Courtesy the Artist and Zach Feuer Gallery, New York, NY.

SANTA BARBARA, CA.- A longstanding west-coast anchor for creative expression and the only venue between Los Angeles and San Francisco focused solely on contemporary art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCA Santa Barbara), formerly known as Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (CAF), presents its inaugural exhibition of work by New York-based artist Dasha Shishkin and a solo project by Mexico City-based Edgar Orlaineta. Set for Fourth of July weekend, the July 6 openings kick off a month-long celebration of the new MCA Santa Barbara, which will include artist meet-and-greets, a VIP Founders Circle reception, and new public outreach initiatives, such as the Visiting Artist Summer Series. Both exhibitions will be on view July 6 through September 8, 2013.

Founded in 1976, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (CAF) has presented exhibitions and publications featuring a distinguished roster of artists over the course of its 37 years. Artists include: John Baldessari, Ann Hamilton, Ed and Nancy Kienholz, Wayne Thiebaud, and more recently Sanford Biggers, EV Day, and Mario Ybarra, Jr. The new MCA Santa Barbara will remain a kunsthalle, operating as a non-collecting, non-profit museum, with increased dedication to innovative and experimental contemporary art and performance.

“We have always functioned as an incubator for new ideas and risk-taking artwork,” explains Miki Garcia, Executive Director, MCA Santa Barbara. “As we position ourselves to be a contemporary art museum for the 21st century, we are both adaptive and responsive, acknowledging our potential to serve an increasingly larger audience.” Garcia’s thoughts are reflected in the new mission statement: MCA Santa Barbara advances creativity and inspires critical thinking through meaningful engagement with the art of our time.

The exhibition Dasha Shishkin, erry icket (July 6 – September 8, 2013) comprises new work specifically created and conceived for MCA Santa Barbara’s main galleries. Internationally recognized, Shishkin has garnered attention for her large, colorful drawings on semi-transparent mylar surfaces, which utilize a variety of media including acrylic, ink, and conté. While the work is figurative in nature, evoking fable-like qualities, Shishkin eschews any concrete narrative. Rather, her complex compositions broadly contemplate themes of romance, eroticism, humor, and the grotesque.

Born in Moscow, Russia, Shishkin currently lives and works in New York, NY. She received an MFA from Columbia University, New York, NY (2006), and a BFA from the New School for Social Research, New York, NY (2001). Shishkin has recently shown in solo exhibitions at the following: Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH; Gio Marconi, Milan, Italy; Griffelkunst, Hamburg, Germany; Andreas Grimm, Munich, Germany; Zach Feuer Gallery, New York, NY; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles, CA; and group exhibitions at Denver Art Museum, CO; and Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany.

For MCA Santa Barbara’s Bloom Projects, Mexico City-based artist Edgar Orlaineta will create Katsina Horizon, inspired by folk and modern arts and crafts: the Hopi Kachina dolls of the American Southwest and mid-century Alexander Girard wooden dolls. The doll-sculptures in this installation are made with natural materials (from trees that have fallen naturally) using traditional lathe-turning wood techniques. Orlaineta's works are influenced by modernist design and its legacy, and combine hybrid forms where modernist ideals and contemporary realities collide. It will be on view July 6 – September 8, 2013.

Orlaineta received an MFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, and a BFA from Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Grabado, Mexico City, Mexico. His work has been shown at Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA; Casa Estudio Luis Barragan, Mexico City, Mexico; Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York, NY; and Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA. He is represented by Galeria de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City, Mexico.

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