March 31 – April 29, 2016

Faulkner Main Gallery
SB Public Library
40 E Anapamu Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101


It was an honor to be asked to serve as juror of this year’s Abstract Art Collective exhibition. I thank Jan Ziegler for the invitation to share a few thoughts about the selection process.

A key component of any juried exhibition is structure: what is the exhibit trying to accomplish, where is it being held and how will it be received? In this capacity, the Abstract Art Collective provided me with a blank canvas. The most interesting element of the process for this show was also the most difficult—that I was tasked to single-handedly create original parameters with a corresponding aesthetic and purpose for the approximately 150 pieces submitted.

As I reflect on the jurying process, I entered Faulkner Gallery to find a visual cacophony. Walking into a sea of robust, diverse works executed in a wide variety of media is in some ways a curator’s dream. Charting a map to evaluate which pieces could be combined in the most visually compelling way was difficult beyond imagining. Where some artworks were complementary, others conflicted; however, if rearranged, the conflicting works could create a new conversation and the complementary pieces might clash. With so many wonderful options, it becomes in some way the juror’s burden to have to limit the endless possibilities. How do you choose?

Inspired by thematic elements within the entries, I focused more on conceptual art that underscores ideas of ambiguity, innovation, calculated risk, adventure and profundity—concepts that are reflected in many of the works on view in the Faulkner Gallery. From the expressive, day glow dot paintings to the more minimalist works executed in novel materials, you will notice the great care that was taken to make each of these unique explorations. I appreciated the variety of imagery, such as a horizontal spectrum of sky that speaks to—among many things—our relationship with nature, beauty, and artifice.

Several printmakers produced incredibly subtle works that show sensitivity to elements of line, color, shape, space, and form and I think it is important to highlight the training and skill required to work in this medium. As a curator, I love to look at art and I take this pleasure seriously. I wanted to reward artists who displayed a depth of familiarity with his or her medium and who demonstrated an awareness of presentation that accentuates the work.

Like an artist expresses his or her unique perspective within each artwork, jurors and curators also reflect their subjective voices within each exhibition. Future iterations of the Abstract Art Collective exhibition will reveal still other aesthetic choices and approaches. I am very proud of the pieces we have on display this evening but also incredibly excited to see all future iterations and possibilities for this wonderful body of work.

-Maiza Hixson