Friday, December 14, 2012

Waterhouse Gallery, Santa Barbara

If you happen to find yourself in Santa Barbara, California and are hankering for viewing representational paintings, the Waterhouse Gallery should be on your to-see list.

It's tucked on the corner of an L-shaped pedestrian passageway (La Arcada) connecting the main drag (State Street) with East Figueroa Street, which runs at a right-angle to State. The image above shows the gallery from a small plaza at the angle of the L.

When I last visited, the gallery was having its annual Figurative Exhibition, a display of paintings by many of the better currently active painters who disdain abstraction and the edgy postmodern idiom.

The gallery is not large, so the paintings on view also tended to be of modest size and packed together. This was no problem, so far as I am concerned, because they were mostly up close and I could concentrate on nearly every one.

My main complaint is that the paintings lacked an accompanying label with the name of the artist and the title. I wonder why. One possible reason is that this forces the viewer to inquire the gallery staff, thereby starting a conversation that might lead to a sale. This is fine with capitalist tool me, though I can't afford quality paintings and would find it useful to simply gather information without interacting with the staff. However, the second link above is to the paintings on view and identifies who made them, so all was not totally lost.

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