Ojai – Artistic Visions of a Growing America

Submitted by Ojai Valley Scribe on
painting of a pale lady

Gretchen Simpson will visit the Ojai Library at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, 2019, to deliver a talk entitled “Artistic Visions of a Growing America, Part 1.” Ms. Simpson comes to us via the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Community Speakers Program.

A living artist views his surroundings with an eye that is both immediate and thoughtful. The result on his canvas can be a historical record which is informative as well as provocative. At times, however, a painting is also disturbing and cautionary. The art of this remarkable era reveals all the growing pains of a society rushing into its future.

The presentation begins in 1826 with an introduction to the Hudson River School artists, such as Thomas Cole and Albert Bierstadt, whose vast landscapes inspire a sense of awe and reverence. Then, the dawn of the Gilded Age in 1870 brings great wealth to a small group of entrepreneurs, and many artists flourished as they painted to the tastes of this rising upper class. By 1900 the strain of such extravagant lifestyles and the demands of industrial development intensified class divisions and artists, including Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins, responded by breaking conventional boundaries of perception. Artists were there once again to paint the social struggles, scratch the underbelly of ostentation, and raise uncomfortable questions.

This event is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact Ron Solórzano, Regional Librarian, at (805) 218-9146.

The Ojai Library is located at 111 East Ojai Avenue in Ojai, CA. Hours of service are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday.