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Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on December 20th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 41 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 41

Exploring with oil

The Santa Maria Public Library features the large-scale works of LA-based artist Ian Pines


The Santa Maria Public Library boasts the spacious Shepard Hall, which the city uses to display art year round in exhibits that rotate every month. The library can afford lots of room for art, which helps give its current exhibit, a focus on large works, a comfortable home.

Inspired by myth:
The Santa Maria Public Library presents the exhibit “Churning Myths into Mountains: Large Scale Oil Works” by Ian Pines through the month of December.

“Churning Myths into Mountains: Large Scale Oil Works” by Los Angeles-based artist Ian Pines is showing in the library’s Shepard Hall through December, and, as the title suggests, the show focuses on paintings of a particular size.

“I’ve been working at a fairly large scale for a while,” Pines said, “because it’s a very human size, literally. Especially at 6 by 6 feet, because when you are painting, it is the same size of a person and at that size there is a broad spectrum of movements on and in the painting.”

Pines’ work can be considered abstract expressionism, he said, though there are many figurative elements in his style. He prefers to work in oil, which he believes is a more plastic medium than others.

“Oil paint takes in a lot of what the artist brings to it,” he said. “I definitely think that everyone has a specific style that could be honed in on and is different from everybody else’s.”

Releasing control:
Much of Pines’ work is dictated not by his choices, but the “phenomenology of the paint,” according to the artist.

The focus of the exhibit, Pines explained, is the human condition in its current state; the duality of the organic and natural composition of humans against the grinding machine of technology is a constant theme.

“It’s very bombastic and kind of over the top and, you know, in our time, the way we are glutted with information, there are many competing aspects to our lives instead of one overarching narrative,” he said. “It’s difficult for us to integrate on both a physical level but also on a psychological level. How we interact with our environment is very changed by technology and the way we look at things; our morality has changed.”

Meditating on a certain theme or idea has served many artists over the years, but the context of modern times surely exerts some influence over what artists are focusing on.

“Starting a work and thinking of something while painting is a good way to jump into a work,” Pines said, “because, I think, even beyond any theories or literary narratives or basic narratives that come out of it, it is very much about the paint itself and exploring the vast possibilities that the medium allows.”

Oil paints are notorious for being un-agreeable and taking a long time to dry, but Pines embraces the fluidity and allows the paint itself help dictate the work.

Making mountains
The Santa Maria Public Library presents the exhibit “Churning Myths into Mountains: Large Scale Oil Works” featuring paintings by Ian Pines showing through December. An artist reception is Dec. 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Shepard Hall, Santa Maria Public Library, 421 S. McClelland St., Santa Maria. More info: 925-0951, Ext. 381,, or

“The theories of ‘what it means’ or ‘what do people get out of it’ are somewhat important,” he said, “but I think what is even more important is how it is an armature for the possibilities of paint and the phenomenology of paint.”

In this style of painting, “accidents” don’t truly exist because everything that comes up is embraced by the artist and used. Two colors running together can be seen a variety of different ways during the creative process.

“One thing mixes with another by accident, and you either smooth that out or accentuate it,” Pines said. “And it may come out looking better than if every motion had been an intentional one.”

Pines earned his bachelor’s degree at UC Santa Cruz and his master’s degree at UC Los Angeles. The artist currently lives in LA, but often makes his way to Santa Maria, where his parents live. He also spent several years of his childhood in Santa Maria before moving with his parents, who have since returned.

“It’s a very dear place to me,” he said, “and my parents told me that they exhibit work in the new library, so I thought it would be a great idea to submit some of my work.”

Pines’ exhibit will be showing through the month of December at the Santa Maria Public Library’s Shepard Hall. An artists’ reception with Pines present is scheduled for Dec. 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. Photos and information regarding Pines’ works can be found at

Arts Editor Joe Payne incorporates accidents into his life. Contact him at

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