Santa Barbara, CA
This story was featured in the November 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Diane Waterhouse, owner of Waterhouse Gallery in Santa Barbara, CA, says that in 2006, most gallery group shows were focusing on landscapes. “Galleries weren’t really doing figurative exhibitions,” she says. “I thought it would be different to do a figurative exhibition, and it has grown from there.” In its first year, the Great American Figurative Exhibition included about 35 figurative artworks; now the highly regarded show attracts artists and collectors from across the country and features approximately 75 works from 40 artists. This year’s eighth annual show opens at Waterhouse Gallery on Saturday, November 9, with a weekend of events that includes artists’ demonstrations from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and an artists’ reception immediately after from 4 to 7:30 p.m.
California painter Cynthia Hamilton, who attends the show for the second time this year, says she was thrilled to be invited. “I’m honored to have my work shown with the talented group of artists in this year’s show,” she says. “Ralph and Diane Waterhouse’s dedication and enthusiasm for figurative work make this show a memorable event for both artists and collectors to attend, and it represents the highest of quality work.”
“I choose [the artists] personally,” Waterhouse says. “Many are returning and have been in the show for several years. Each year I also like to feature some new guest artists.” This year’s first-time participants include Terry Miura, Michelle Dunaway, Tibor Nagy, Lynn Sanguedolce, and Dennis Perrin. The show attracts artists from across the country, including Stan Moeller, who has participated in the past four shows and travels from Maine each year to attend the opening-weekend events. Other returning artists include C.W. Mundy, Derek Penix, Jennifer McChristian, Vincent Giarrano, Jonathan Ahn, and Albin Veselka.
And though the figure is the focus of the show, Waterhouse notes that the works are not just figures. “We really love the show to be much more than just the figure,” she says. “We love conversational paintings: figures involved in everyday life, figures in motion, et cetera.” A good example is Hamilton’s painting entitled WORK BREAK, in which a group of construction workers in fluorescent orange and yellow vests gather in discussion between shifts. A common sight, Hamilton notes with a smile, in construction zones.
Although the show is an enormous undertaking, Waterhouse says, “I am always sad when it is over because I love organizing it, planning it, and hanging it so much.” —Laura Rintala
Featured in the November 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art November 2013 print issue or digital download
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