Some featured artists in the Wildling Museum’s latest group show paint plein air, while one in particular captures his subjects from an airplane midair.
Aerial photographer Bill Dewey is one of the 11 Central Coast-based artists showcased in the exhibition, Sedgwick Reserve: A Conservation Story, which premiered at the museum in April and is scheduled to remain on display through October.
“He’s been doing this kind of photography for about 20 to 30 years,” Stacey Otte-Demangate, executive director of the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature, said of Dewey, whose photographs in the exhibit include digital aluminum prints of three aerial views of Sedgwick Reserve taken in 2016.
A handful of artists in the show, including Dewey, are members of Oak Group, a Santa Barbara County-based group of artists dedicated to supporting causes that protect open spaces, wildlife habitats, and agricultural areas throughout the county.
“They’re very aligned with our mission to raise awareness about preserving local lands,” said Lauren Roberts Sharp, assistant director at the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature.
Featured painters—working in oils, pastels, watercolor, and other media—and photographers in the Sedgwick Reserve show at the Wildling Museum pay tribute to the 6,000 acre area, located in the foothills of the San Rafael Mountains in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Sedgwick is one of seven reserves managed by the UCSB Natural Reserve System and is known as one of the most diverse reserves of its kind, as it hosts several types of habitats, including oak savannah, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, gray pine forest, vernal pools, and more.
One of Otte-Demangate’s favorite painters featured in the Wildling Museum’s Sedgwick Reserve tribute show is oil painter Bruce Everett, whose pieces in the exhibit include Sunset on Grass Mountain and Figueroa Creek. Both paintings were completed in 2012.
“He does super large-scale, very realistic landscapes,” Otte-Demangate said of the artist.
Alongside works by Everett and Dewey in the Sedgwick Reserve show are pieces by fellow featured artists Whitney Brooks Abbott, Chris Chapman, Dennis Curry, Camille Dellar, Russ Hunziker, John Iwerks, Manny Lopez, Mark Oliver, and Nina Warner.
Like Everett, Warner works with oils, except on panels rather than canvas. Warner is one of Sharp’s personal favorite painters in the show, which includes three oil paintings by the artist: Early Moonrise completed in 2022, and Lone Agave, Sedgwick Reserve and Old Sedgwick Ranch House, both completed in 2023.
“She’s a wonderful artist to work with, and very thoughtful,” said Sharp, who added that Warner’s works have been highlighted in past group shows at the Wildling Museum as well.
During her 13-year career at the Wildling Museum, Otte-Demangate said that Sedgwick Reserve: A Conservation Story is the first group show to solely focus on the reserve specifically. She described the exhibit as a tool to help raise awareness for Sedgwick and the research, conservation, and education efforts that take place at the property.
“Sedgwick Reserve is a super valuable resource for the whole community,” she said.
Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood is leaving on a jet plane. Send aerial comments to [email protected].