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Collaborative Art Exhibit Opens at galleries in downtown Ojai, CA

When: Friday, May 18th, 2018, 5:00pm - 7:30pm

Visions of Destruction and Rebirth – a concurrent exhibition hosted at seven Ojai galleries, shops and the Ojai Valley Museum.

Artists often respond to what they see happening around them by creating something. The work can be evocative of a monumental encounter with fate as in the case of the Thomas Fire. The biggest California wildfire of all time summoned an intense, almost spiritual shared experience, and planted a seed for this special exhibit.

Vivid images of the flames surrounding the whole Ojai Valley for days, the miracle of firefighters saving the town, and the regeneration that takes place in the landscape after complete destruction – all of those images are forever seared into our collective consciousness. In translating these images, processing tragedy and converting it to a hopeful expression, it creates a new meaning. Observation, commentary, or beauty - the viewer decides.

Nomad Gallery will feature the paintings of owner Leslie Clark, whose family ranch burned in the Thomas Fire. She was compelled to paint the images literally ‘burned’ into her mind as she was surrounded by flames. As the trauma of fire receded and nature started to reassert itself, she focused on the survivors – certain plants that had made it through prior drought conditions and then survived the fire. Portraits of these plant heroes will be on display in “Flames to Flowers”. Enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres, and local singer songwriter, Karyn 805 on the Nomad patio. Leslie has offered to replace Leslie Clark paintings purchased at Nomad Gallery, which were lost in the fire.

HumanArts Gallery’s exhibit, “Up From the Ashes”, showcases 11 artists working in diverse mediums. Ashes from the fire make their way into ceramic glazes on the large broken and reconstructed vessels of Patrick Crabb, and are mixed into the mysterious glass spheres of Evan Chambers. Robert Lamarche’s imposing dragon mask is accompanied by a hatchling. Miniature scratchboard drawings of Karl Vidstrand, and paintings by Christine Brennan are each a story waiting to be told. Sooz Glazebrook’s red hot luster vase displays burned out flowers and seed pods. Necklaces of Elaine Unzicker’s incorporate Alaskan coral that resembles wood and a copper flame worn as a badge of survival.

Also at HumanArts, sculpture by Stan Katz is made of found metal, glass and pottery shards foraged from the site of a home that burned during the fire. Beth and Darrel Wilson’s Fire Bowls are carved from uprooted Mountain Ceanothus trees, that burned in the fire and ended up on Carpinteria’s beaches after the mudslides. Kerry Miller’s mixed media sculpture is made from remains of the fire and reflects nature's transformation from ordinary to extraordinary. HumanArts plans to donate 25% of any pieces sold from the exhibition to Help of Ojai’s fire relief efforts.

“Beauty After Thomas”, at Dan Schultz Gallery of Fine Art Gallery and Studio will focus on Ojai Valley landscapes following the Thomas Fire. Dan paints on location (“en plein air”), has been exploring the contrast between the areas that burned and the parts of the valley that were preserved, and how the land is being renewed. Dan will raffle a small original painting with proceeds going to fire relief efforts.

The Ojai Valley Museum exhibit, “Scorched Souls” opened March 11 and will continue through June 17. More than 60 members of the Ojai Studio Artists, working in a variety of mediums, have created powerful statements describing their work, of reactions to the fire and it’s aftermath. On May 18th OSA artists will invite the public to join them in painting a mural expressing gratitude that the Valley is recovering from the fire.

“Forged from the Flames”, the exhibit at OVA Arts features 18 artists: Painters Kristy Vantrease, Christine Beirne, Amy Lynn Stevenson, Duane Eells, Patty VanDyke, Anne Graca, and Liz Tallakson; master woodworker David Blackburn; sculptor Brian Berman; ceramic artists Gayle Swanson, Carole Paddock, Margo Edison, and Julie Wellings; Rock Stacker Martha Moran; photographer Michael McMahan; jeweler Peter Andrews; and textile artists Borbala Arvai and Tanya Burke.

In addition, the work of two outstanding local artists will also be featured: “Unconquerable Life Prevails” at Marche’ Gourmet European Deli showing the landscapes of plein aire painter and chef, Patricia Cluche’; and at Barbara Bowman Boutique, “Real and Surreal”, Sherry Loehr’s astonishingly detailed paintings explore her personal improvisations and how they collide with realism.

Locations and exhibit dates:

Nomad Gallery, 307 E. Ojai Ave. #103, 805-646-1706. May 18-June 30

HumanArts Gallery, 246 E. Ojai Ave., 805-646-1525. May 18 - June 30.

Dan Schultz Fine Art Gallery, 106 N. Signal St., 805-317-9634. May 18-June 17.

Ojai Valley Museum, 130 W. Ojai Ave., 805-640-1390. March 11 – June 17. Free admission evening of May 18th.

OVA Arts, 238 E. Ojai Ave., 805-646-5682. May 1 – May 31.

Marche’ Gourmet Deli, 133 E. Ojai Ave, 805-646-1133. May 18 - June 30.

Barbara Bowman Boutique, 125 E. Ojai Ave., 805-646-2970. May 18 - June 30.

For more information - Contact Hallie Katz Email:

HumanArts Gallery | 246 E. Ojai Ave. Ojai, CA 93023 | Phone: 805-646-1525

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