ART REVIEW : Back in Optical Action – After being closed to the public for renovations, the downtown public library’s grand Faulkner Gallery has re-opened, reminding us of its importance as a centralizing cultural force
LESLIE LEWIS SIGLER, ‘OBJECTS OF MY REFLECTION’
By JOSEF WOODARD, NEWS-PRESS CORESPONDENT
July 8, 2011
When: through July 30
Where: Faulkner Gallery West, Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu St.
Gallery Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday
Information: 564-5608, sbplibrary.org
Walking into the newly reopened and renovated Faulkner Gallery in the downtown library, you might find yourself feeling a bit more warm and tingly than before. Absence has made the heart grow fonder, as the large gallery, cultural center and social gathering hall has been closed to the public for a couple of months, for renovation.
Whereas we might take this space — actually, one large, tall-ceilinged room and two small flanking galleries — for granted, the Faulkner is actually an important, anchoring cultural presence downtown, regardless of what art is on view here. With the Museum of Art just across the courtyard, and the Sullivan Goss and Channing Peake galleries across the street, the Faulkner is literally in the center of artistic action, and has a democratic reach, to members of the public not necessarily plugged into the comings and goings of art.
In the current list of exhibitions here in the new, improved Faulkner complex, the largest spread goes to the SCAPE landscape art consortium. Among the more impressive works in the densely populated show are the ruggedly brushed “Valley at Dusk” by ccc and Margaret Nadeau’s “Showers are Coming,” conveying an air pregnant with impending precipitation. Filiberto Lomeli’s “Ocean View” is a seascape with a difference, a mystical light source on the ocean’s horizon, and Suzan Dougall Christenson’s “Summer in the Sierras” is an etude in rolling, lulling hillside contours and arid beauty.
Back in the small Faulkner Gallery East, David Orias’ kindly “Reflecting on Waves” photography show lovingly details oceanic action. Traditional wave-obsessive ocean photography mixes in with painting-like textured photographs on canvas. By land, he shows some standard photo op favorites in SoCal, from the Santa Barbara Mission to the shimmering arcs — waves, come to think of it — of Frank Gehry’s Disney Hall architectural showpiece and landmark.
The most compelling show in the building is in Faulkner Gallery West, Leslie Lewis Sigler’s quite lovely painting show “Objects of my Reflection.” This is Sigler’s first solo show, and it makes for a good impression, in terms of single images and the cohesive, calmly expressive élan of the whole.
In this show, Sigler brings a meditative, realistic still life aesthetic, a painterly eye and attention to objects both mundane and ceremonial. Shiny sterling silver vessels and heirlooms hang happily alongside lovingly fastidious paintings of a desk fan, an espresso pot and a vintage telephone, looking gracefully iconic in this setting.
Some of the more “precious” objects and heirlooms are presented in triptychs and other multiple panel contexts, giving works like “Revival” and “Family of Heirlooms” the character of personality-endowed object worship and transformation into art. From the evidence here, Sigler has a real gift, as a painter and thinker about how painting functions.
See it now, in your public library.