Westmont Magazine Photo Exhibit Exposes a ‘Watershed’ Moment
The Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art opened the year with “Watershed: Contemporary Landscape Photography,” which explored the increasingly fraught relationship between humankind and the environment. “Throughout North America, we share these sustainability issues,” says Judy L. Larson, R. Anthony Askew professor of art history and museum director. “Although each need is specific to its region, ‘Watershed’ highlights the mutual issues that connect us. In Santa Barbara, we’ve experienced the effect of a fire-ravaged forest, the need for water and the environmental clean-up that must continue. ‘Watershed’ illustrates that these issues are not solely ours. From rural Alabama to Labrador, Canada, these photographs provide visual evidence of our shared environmental concerns.”
The exhibition featured several of the country’s most celebrated contemporary photographers, including William Christenberry, Gabriel Orozco and Joel Meyerowitz, and two of Southern California’s best-known photographers, Macduff Everton and Bill Dewey. “This interdisciplinary, environmentally-focused exhibition urges us to pay attention and get involved,” Larson says.
Westmont recently approved a new minor in environmental studies. “We know students have a keen interest in the topic of sustainability,” Larson says. “This exhibition lent itself to programming and activities where students could get involved and explore the topic further.”
Alumnus Michael Kidd ’76 sponsored the exhibition in memory of Professor John Janzen and Benjamin Ortega.
Related events included a lecture by Katharine Hayhoe, a renowned atmospheric scientist, a Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park birding trip with Professor Amanda Sparkman, and a lecture by Neal Graffy titled “The History of Water in Santa Barbara.”
The lower level of the museum displays paintings by a group of six artists with differing techniques from diverse backgrounds each with a passion for painting and a love of nature creating and exploring through gouache. “Rose Compass: Paintings of Santa Barbara’s Watershed,” features the works of Connie Connally, Nina Warner, Nicole Strasburg, Holli Harmon, Libby Smith and Pamela Zwhehl-Burke and will run through June 22.