Culture: Ones to Watch

Posted online: August 2015

Stephanie Washburn + Chad Ress

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ABOVE: Washburn’s Fire At Sea 2, 2015, digital C-print, 32 x 55 in. Washburn is represented by Mark Moore Gallery,

As a genre, landscape art has had its ups and downs; it ranked well behind portrait and history painting until the 19th century. Such hierarchical distinctions seem irrelevant in an era of digitized images and conceptual art, yet even contemporary artists approach landscape with at least an inkling—conscious or unconscious—of its storied past. For married artists Stephanie Washburn and Chad Ress, who share studios in Ojai and Ventura, the history of landscape underlies their art making in unique and different ways. Washburn describes her body of work, The Yielding—combining drawing, photography, and video—as conflating the landscape genre with portrait, media spectacle, and architecture.

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From Ress, boulders being placed in New Hogan Lake, Valley Springs, California. Ress is represented by Massif Management,

Her digital print Fire at Sea is a reference to a painting by Turner, the British artist credited with elevating the status of landscape painting. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Washburn is currently a lecturer at UC Santa Barbara, where she received her MFA. Her work is included in several public collections, including LACMA, The Frederick R. Weisman Foundation Collection, and MOCA San Diego. In his landscape photography series America Recovered, Ress documents projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), echoing the New Deal-era Farm Security Administration’s photography project that produced iconic images by noted photographers Walker Evans and Dorthea Lange (both of whom Ress credits with inspiring his interest in photography). Accepted at Photo Santa Fe and awarded distinction by The Forward Thinking Museum, America Recovered was also published in Time magazine’s Lightbox and Harper’s Magazine. –L.D.P.




shes gone coverReleased in January, She’s Gone (Heart Rock Press, $16), is page-turning fiction with roots in a local reality. Joye Emmens’s latest novel opens in 1969 during an uncontrolled oil spill from an offshore platform in Santa Barbara—based on an actual event that was the catalyst for the creation of Earth Day and the beginning of the environmental movement—that sets the stage for a coming-of-age novel with the backdrop of counterculture 1960s America that explores social and political issues still relevant today. –CHARLOTTE BRYANT



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