Abstract art exhibit by Sophia Beccue on view through July 8
How local artist Sophia Beccue coped during the past two years while living through cancer and a global pandemic is reflected in her solo exhibition, “Beauty Out of Ashes.”
The exhibit is on view through July 8 at the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara Gallery. The artist will be present July 3.
“I came to grasp the deeper meaning of beauty, beauty born out of the dark ties, experienced personally and collectively,” said Ms. Beccue, who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in December 2018 even though she had never smoked — “not even one cigarette” — in her life.
“I went into partial remission and long-term treatment, wrestling through the meaning of life and death and finding peace through my faith, which made me better equipped to face the pandemic and my husband’s diagnosis of cancer. I discovered not only beauty in the darkness but strength in the midst of weakness and brokenness,” said Ms. Beccue.
Her primary mediums are watercolor and acrylics on paper and wood panels.
Of the 30 works in the exhibit, approximately half are from her “Cancer Journey” portfolio, which includes her thoughts about the paintings in the various stages of “Shocked,” “Numbness,” “Grief,” “Overcoming,” “Peace,” “Thankfulness,” “Confusion,” “Guilt,” “Affirmation,” “Moving On” and “Uncertainty.”
According to Ms. Beccue, “Artistically, these abstract paintings describe each stage of emotion with colors, shapes and composition. Because of the wide range of emotions represented throughout the whole journey,
I needed to somehow tie these very diverse images as one series. I used the same mediums and format to keep the consistency.
“Each painting carries some elements from the previous painting to create a sense of continuity. The very last painting, ‘Uncertainty,’ was formatted differently because I wanted to separate the two stages of life, signifying a whole new chapter of experience. This series would not be complete without the images and the stories presented together.”
She has also self-published a coffee table art book about her “Cancer Journey,” which is available for $175.
Born in Taiwan, Ms. Beccue, who immigrated to the United States in 1977 when she was 15, studied graphic design at San Diego State University and illustration at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.
Her professional experience includes positions at an advertising agency, a film company and as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator.
A member of the Santa Barbara Art Association, the Abstract Art Collective and the Art Council of the Westmont-Ridley Tree Museum of Art, she has won numerous awards and has had solo and group exhibitions. Her art has been collected internationally.
Ms. Beccue moved to Santa Barbara in 2018 with her husband, Phil Beccue. The couple have a son, Tim, 25, and daughter, Alyssa, 23.
“We came here from the Bay Area when our last child went to college. Before that, I was busy homeschooling. We came here to retire and enjoy our empty nest, and that’s when I started fine art painting,” said Ms. Beccue. “As a graphic artist and illustrator, I had to create what others told me to do. As a fine artist, I can paint what is in my heart.”
The exhibition also includes paintings from her other portfolios: Abstract Art, Realism and Petite Art.
“I strive to capture my subject matter with simplicity through shapes, colors, marks, form and composition. I am especially drawn to abstract art with rich colors and creative arrangements. Pairing down a subject matter to its essence is always a challenge I embrace. Capturing the inner world is as intriguing to me as rendering the physical world,” said Ms. Beccue.
“While making art brings me joy and pleasure, my ambition is to create art that conveys beauty, grace, truth and contributes toward an uplifting spirit in viewers.”