Local Clay: Marianne McGrath and Cheryl Ann Thomas
July 14, 2018 through November 4, 2018
Local Clay pairs two of Ventura County’s most unconventional female sculptors, Marianne McGrath and Cheryl Ann Thomas. Both women are local artists working predominantly in clay, but in very distinct ways. McGrath, an assistant professor of art at California State University Channel Islands, juxtaposes the earthen medium of clay with industrial materials like reclaimed wood to create works that speak of rural landscapes lost to suburban sprawl. Thomas, who began her ceramic practice at age 60 in her garage with a small kiln, embraces the nature of accident and allows her clay to collapse and create chance forms during firing.
McGrath and Thomas chose individual sub-themes for their respective artworks featured in this show. This exhibit is important to Marianne because it is the first time that she is showing her work in her home county after nearly 20 years away. The majority of her art has always been about home. Cheryl thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to look back in retrospect at the evolution of her work over the past 30 years and to gather together the people and collectors who have supported her along the way. Ultimately, both women are considering concepts of home, memory, and loss. Local Clay is on view through November 4, 2018.
The Natural World: Variations on a Theme - Paintings by Gina Niebergall
June 23, 2018 through October 14, 2018
Ventura native Gina Niebergall has been an artist for as long as she can remember. She has loved nature for equally as long. “It’s so much fun being a painter in California,” she says. Ventura County holds a special place in her art. The local terrain offers everything a landscape artist like Gina could dream of: the beach, the mountains, and the desert. In the past year, Niebergall has traveled to sites like the Eastern Sierra, the Carrizo Plain, and the Antelope Valley for inspiration. The artist’s latest works have culminated in a stunning new solo exhibition at the Santa Paula Art Museum entitled “The Natural World: Variations on a Theme.”
When deciding on the theme of her exhibition, Gina was careful to include the notion of “variation.” Not only does the subject matter of her paintings vary, but so too does her treatment of light, color, shadow, and composition. Niebergall is quick to confess that she “finds inspiration everywhere,” which makes her art all the more inspiring to viewers. Exhibition visitors will also be able to hear Niebergall describe her work in her own words by means of a video interview that was filmed inside the artist’s studio. Particularly moving is her account of the aftermath of the December 2017 Thomas Fire - the largest wildfire in California history - on her family’s property and how she has portrayed both the wildfire’s destruction and the gradual renewal of the local landscape in her paintings. “The Natural World: Variations on a Theme” will be on view through October 14, 2018.