Penelope Gottlieb: Portraits in Air (A Series Revisited) @ Cabana Home, Santa Barbara


Cabana Home presents an exhibition of new works by Santa Barbara based painter Penelope Gottlieb.  The project is entitled, Portraits in Air (A Series Revisited), and reconsiders the nature of portraiture and today’s era of the omnipresent surveillance cameras, facial recognition software, and mass media’s drive for hyper-glamour.  Building on a sequence of works first exhibited in 2004, Gottlieb expands her investigations and delves into the very essence of our identity, corporality, memory and, ultimately, our most intimate interface with one another.

No other part of the body do we reveal to one another with great frequency or effect than our face.  Considering this as the subject for her ongoing series, Gottlieb draws from a wide ranging set of influences including the history of art, Structural philosophy, and mass-media to visually reconsider the face and its accompanying traditions of both portraying and reading it.  Adopting the visual characteristic of cinema and or video, her understated and mirror-like paintings are comprised of multiple layers of acrylic lacquer and portray a selection of faces in iconic stillness. In first encountering these faces, we seek out clues to their identity, race, gender, and emotional state using our highly developed and instinctual facial recognition abilities.  Graphic dissolves or “wipes” further enhance the dynamic and shifting quality of the image Gottlieb creates. In relationship to today’s complex geo-political climate and rapidly advancing surveillance technologies, Gottlieb’s investigations takes on further meaning. 

Penelope Gottlieb completed her MFA at the University of California in Santa Barbara in 2004.  Her work has been featured in prominent international art fairs such as the Armory, NY and ArtPlatforms LA.  It is also currently included in a touring exhibition entitled, Ignite! The Art of Sustainability, presented by Exhibit Envoy, and touring CA from 2012 to 2015, reaching institutions such as: the UC Davis Design Museum, the Humboldt St University Art Gallery, the Arte Americas, Pasadena Museum of California Art, and the Museum of History and Art, Ontario. Recently, Gottlieb presented Gone at Ganna Walska Lotusland in 2011 and debuted this ongoing series in Los Angeles at Edward Cella Art+Architecture in 2012.  Examples of this project were since exhibited by the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster in an exhibition entitled, SuperCallaFragileMysticEcstasyDioecious.

The artist’s work has been acquired by several prominent public collections, including: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Chicago Art Institute, the Palm Springs Museum of Art, 21c Museums, the Nevada Museum of Art, the National Museum of Wildlife Art and is on view at the Drawing Center, New York.

Penelope Gottlieb:Portraits in Air  is the sixteenth of an on-going sequence of exhibitions organized by gallerist Edward Cella of Edward Cella Art + Architecture, in collaboration with Caroline and Steven Thompson, principals of Cabana Home.  Through regular presentation of new and notable contemporary artists, the ongoing series seeks to open a dialogue between artists and collectors in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and beyond. 


Cabana Home is open Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm.

Steve Thompson, (805) 962-0200

Or for images: Edward Cella, (323) 525-0053

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