Wednesday, June 19, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on January 9th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 45 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 45

Light bright

Gallery Los Olivos artists share work that shines


For their first big show of the year, the artists of Gallery Los Olivos present their interpretation of one of their most important tools: light.

Gallery Los Olivos’ latest exhibit offers viewers a chance to see perspectives from a variety of its artists, including Minnie Anderson. Anderson took an abstract approach to the topic, while others presented still life, landscapes, sculptures, and more.

In every possible way, light reigns as a vital part of how an artist constructs their vision, be it as a physical lighting source that carries a viewer’s eye through a piece or as a deconstructed element, examined not just as a function of electricity or sunlight, but as a motif or symbol. For the latest show at Gallery Los Olivos, more than a dozen artists look to tell their own story about light, how it inspires them, and how they see its effect on their work.

Julie Fish’s piece, Mystery Abounds, is a series of two paintings that tell a unique story, transporting the viewer to a fantasy realm marked by bold dots of light and color. Fish’s style is a blend of pointillism and impressionism, one that uses color to create directionality in each piece. She uses light to create the dramatic arc of her story, pulling the reader to mysterious figures, seemingly haunted and drawn into the brightest parts of her canvas.
Near June Mountain, by impressionist oil painter Renee Kelleher, is one of the most well-executed examples on display, especially in terms of the precise detailing on the highlight of her work. Expertly painted tree branches in the foreground wind carefully into the twisted rocks and crevices of the mountain in the background, as the painting breaks off into three distinct layers of color and light. Kelleher opted to capture the scene in bright midday sun, demonstrating the stark contrasts between light and shadow throughout the work.

Oil painter B.J. Stapen’s entry into the latest show at Gallery Los Olivos, called Light, features the artist’s impressionist interpretation of a pond. The show runs through Jan. 31.

Another standout oil painting is Mistie’s Bouquet, by artist Cheryl Ambrecht. Ambrecht’s still life of flowers is unassuming enough at first to catch one off guard. A closer study of the light in her painting tells a deeper story about the movement and gradient between light and shadow. On the light side, blossoms expand into the light, filling their side of the canvas with bright colors and the hints of possibilities. On the other, flowers dip into the shadows, as darker colors dominate the palette. It’s a simple act of storytelling, and Ambrecht does a lot with a minimalist subject.

Into the light
Light, the latest show at Gallery Los Olivos, runs through Jan. 31. The gallery is located at 2920 Grand Ave., Los Olivos. For more information, contact (805) 688-7517.

But it’s not all still lifes and landscapes at the new show. Minnie Anderson presents one of the boldest images in the show, a piece titled Balanced. Anderson centers the work around a faint, lightly sketched out grid in white, then plays with the idea of a top right light source flooding into the canvas. The whitest parts in the upper corner become dusty and almost chalklike, while a sharp turn to the opposite corner provides a stark rebuttal. Anderson’s brush work is impeccable; she knows when to be aggressive and when to pull back, allowing transparencies into the full-color story of her work.
The show runs through Jan. 31 and is well worth the time to experience. Light is so often taken for granted as a way for artists to shape their entire visual journey, and the artists in this exhibit provide a bright open window into that world.

Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose is light on her feet. Contact her at

Weekly Poll
Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

| Poll Results