Architectural Foundation Gallery exhibit features COVID-inspired theme
“Over the Fence,” a collaboratively curated exhibition of works on paper organized by Meagan Stirling and Alex Lukas, is on view through May 7 at the Architectural Foundation Gallery.
“For this unique exhibition, artists were selected using a ‘plus one’ style of curating — Meagan and Alex each chose one artist,” said Molly Burns, the gallery’s executive director. “Then each of those artists chose another artist, until a total of 10 artists were invited to participate. In this way, the exhibition reaches a range of visual artists working on California’s Central Coast and engages fresh, new voices.
“The diversity of artists, materials and techniques is connected by the COVID-inspired theme, ‘Over the Fence.’ Artists were invited to create two works of art, each 12 inches by 12 inches, and encouraged to interpret the theme in their own ways. Look for images that are playful and informal and interpretations that are literal and metaphorical. All artwork is unframed and affordable.”
Participating artists are Demi Boelsterli, Stephanie Dotson, Greta Harbaugh, Madeleine Eve Ignon, Mr. Lukas, Luke Luvanvi, Chad Ress, Ms. Stirling, Hannah Vainstein and Stephanie Washburn.
Ms. Stirling received her master’s of fine arts degree at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and her bachelor’s from Whitworth University. She enjoys working in multiple mediums, including printmaking, installation and performance.
Her recent exhibitions include “Matter + Spirit,” a traveling exhibit at the Whitworth University Oliver Gallery, and works now at the Sullivan Goss-An American Gallery in Santa Barbara. Her artwork has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the U.S.
She works with and helped found a local organization called Print Power. In screen printing workshops, trauma survivors are given the tools to create visual messages that may be too difficult to verbalize and to process trauma in healthy and community-driven ways.
In her artist statement, Ms. Stirling said, “The overly exaggerated idea of safety that becomes weakened by chance is deeply rooted in the risk and reward of living life. The paradox of daily life as safe and comfortable is juxtaposed with its polar opposite, the uncertainties of life. Working primarily within the context of printmaking and installation, my artwork exposes how safety is perceived and its relation to spaces and physical objects.
“The concept of safety and its antithesis of danger is connected to my experience growing up in the seemingly perfect suburban community of Littleton, Colo., where I attended Columbine High School.
“There is risk in the process of making art (printmaking processes are quirky and require lots of time and often multiple attempts to get right); uncertainty is an essential, inevitable and all-pervasive companion within my practice.”
Mr. Lukas, who teaches in the UCSB Art Department, was born in Boston and raised in Cambridge, Mass. His interdisciplinary practice explores the intersections of place, human activity and history. His fieldwork, research and production reframes the monumental and the incidental through intricate print publications, sculpture, drawing, painting, video and audio collage.
He received his master’s of fine arts from Carnegie Mellon University and his bachelor’s of fine arts from Rhode Island School of Design. His work is included in the collections of the Kadist Foundation, Philadelphia Museum of Art, MIT List Visual Arts Center’s Student Loan Art Collection, New York Public Library and the Library of the Museum of Modern Art.
He has participated in residencies at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, The Fountainhead Residency, The Center for Land Use Interpretation and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.
Mr. Lukas’s latest project, “Stay Safe, Stay Home: Road Text in a Time of Contagion,” documents the emergence and progression of pandemic-related highway signs, capturing their language and appearance.
It is published in The Boston Art Review’s winter 2021 edition.
He began this project on his drive home to Boston from Wisconsin as the pandemic began. But after receiving his position at UCSB, Mr. Lukas continued documenting signs as he drove across the country to Santa Barbara.
His recently published photo collection and written essay is more than a transcription of the signs Mr. Lukas has seen. It also acts as his personal travel log.
“It’s also about driving across the country,” he said, “and what that act of movement in a pandemic feels like. It’s weird and scary.”