Photo Exhibit Exposes ‘Watershed’ Moment

4. Lisa M. Robinson (American, b. 1968) Running Fence, 2003 Chromogenic print on paper Telfair Museums, Gift of the artist, 2007.30 © Lisa M. Robinson

“Running Fence,” 2003, by Lisa M. Robinson (American, b. 1968) , Chromogenic print on paper

The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art explores the increasingly fraught relationship between humankind and the environment with a number of events to coincide with the exhibition “Watershed: Contemporary Landscape Photography” Jan. 10- March 23, 2019, in the museum. An opening reception on Thursday, Jan. 10, from 4-6 p.m. is free and open to the public.

“Throughout North America, we share these sustainability issues, and although each need is specific to its region, ‘Watershed’ is able to highlight the mutual issues that connect us,” says Judy L. Larson, R. Anthony Askew professor of art history and museum director. “In Santa Barbara, we have personally experienced the effect of a fire-ravaged forest, the need for water availability and the environmental clean-up that must continue, and ‘Watershed’ illustrates that these issues are not solely ours. From rural Alabama to Labrador, Canada, these photographs provide visual evidence of our shared environmental concerns.”

Jack Leigh (American, 1948-2004) Live Oak and Pond, 1999, printed 2003 Gelatin silver print

“Live Oak and Pond,” 1999, printed 2003, by Jack Leigh (American, 1948-2004), Gelatin silver print

The exhibition highlights several of the country’s most celebrated contemporary photographers, including William Christenberry, Gabriel Orozco and Joel Meyerowitz, and two of Southern California’s best-known photographers, Macduff Everton and Bill Dewey. “This exhibition establishes wide-reaching connection of shared issues, from the East Coast to the West Coast, from the Midwest to the South,” Larson says. “This interdisciplinary, environmentally focused exhibition urges us to pay attention and get involved.”

Jerry Siegel (American, b. 1958) Birds, Perry County, 2001, printed 2004 Archival inkjet print

“Birds, Perry County,” 2001, printed 2004, by Jerry Siegel (American, b. 1958), Archival inkjet print

Westmont has recently approved a new minor in environmental studies, which will be presented to the trustees in January. “We know students have a keen interest in the topic of sustainability,” Larson says. “This exhibition lends itself to programming and activities where students will be able to get involved, and explore this topic further.”

The lower level of the museum will feature paintings by Rose Compass, a group of six artists with six differing techniques and from six diverse backgrounds with a passion for painting and a love of nature to create and explore through gouache. “Rose Compass: Paintings of Santa Barbara’s Watershed,” which features the works of Connie Connally, Nina Warner, Nicole Strasburg, Holli Harmon, Libby Smith and Pamela Zwhehl-Burke, will be on display until June 22.

Michael Kidd is sponsoring the exhibition in memory of Dr. John Janzen and Benjamin Ortega.

Calendar of Art-Related Events

Jan. 10: Opening Reception for “Watershed: Contemporary Landscape Photography” and “Rose Compass: Paintings of Santa Barbara’s Watershed” at 4 p.m.

Jan. 24: Katharine Hayhoe, renowned atmospheric scientist, tours the museum at 3 p.m. following a 1:15 p.m. lecture by at the Westmont Global Leadership Center

Feb. 9: Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park Birding Trip with Dr. Amanda Sparkman at 9 a.m.

Feb. 21: Neal Graffy lectures about “The History of Water in Santa Barbara” at 6 p.m. in Adams Center, room 216

Feb. 23: Westmont College Garden Day with Kenny Chism from  9-11 a.m.

April 4: Open Close: Westmont Graduate Exhibition Opening Reception from 4-6 p.m.

April 6: Beginners Gouache Class and Kid’s Art Project with Rose Compass

April 14: Advanced Gouache Class and Kid’s Watershed Resource Center Exploration at Hendry’s Beach

May 16: Body & Soul: Tri-County Juried Exhibition Opening Reception at 4-6 p.m.