September 10, 2018 - Santa Barbara Museum of Art - April Street: The Mariners’ Grand Staircase (Armoured Stars, Flying Clouds)
September 10, 2018

Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Installation view Park Projects: April Street, The Mariners’ Grand Staircase (Armoured Stars, Flying Clouds), 2018. 12 paintings, sound. Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

April Street
The Mariners’ Grand Staircase (Armoured Stars, Flying Clouds)
A Park Projects Installation
August 19, 2018–February 17, 2019

Santa Barbara Museum of Art
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Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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The Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) announces Park Projects, a new category of exhibitions designed for the Museum’s Park Entrance lobby and stairwell. Utilizing SBMA’s main point of access during the current renovation, Park Projects is a series of site specific installations by contemporary artists that provides visual impact and opportunities for meaningful engagement.

April Street
The Mariners’ Grand Staircase (Armoured Stars, Flying Clouds)

The inspiration for April Street’s installation, The Mariners’ Grand Staircase (Armoured Stars, Flying Clouds), came initially from the Museum’s seaside location as well as the architecture of the Park Entrance staircase and the story of Eleanor Creesy’s historic maiden voyage on the great clipper ship the Flying Cloud. As the ship’s navigator, Creesy became instantly famous on August 31, 1851 after sailing from New York to San Francisco in only 89 days—less than half the time the voyage usually took. Her husband, Josiah Perkins Creesy Jr., was the ship’s captain. Street's multimedia installation effectively reimagines the Museum’s Park Entrance staircase as the grand staircase in the Creesy home. Comprised of 12 charcoal drawings and fabric relief paintings and that range respectively from the representational to the abstract, the hue-saturated paintings appear to morph into sculptural objects as swaths of pigment appear to swell forth from the surface. The Mariners’ Grand Staircase (Armoured Stars and Flying Clouds) is accompanied by sound that conjures a fictional conversation between the navigator and her sea captain husband as they ascend the stairs at day's end. The conversation emerges from a background of noises recorded by the artist during her travels. Constructed by Street and informed by famous novels about the sea, the dialogue proceeds forward but also circles back as the couple eventually repeats each other’s lines. The artist’s envisage of the seafaring couple, their setting, and exchange provokes subtle shifts in sentiment and meaning, creating a new narrative that subverts time and place.

April Street's works combine the material experimentation of 1960s-1970s feminist practice with allusions to the theatricality, illusionism, and palette of 17th-century Dutch still-life painting. She continuously repurposes her paintings with displaced objects, personal stories, and art historical references to ignite an interchange between the viewer and the works about representation, duration, and absence. Coinciding with the installation is the artist’s residency at SBMA’s Ridley-Tree Education Center at McCormick House and a series of interactive projects and environments designed by the artist, including Deep Sky Objects Made Visible for Everyone, a corresponding installation in the Museum’s Family Resource Center. The Mariners’ Grand Staircase (Armoured Stars and Flying Clouds) appears at SBMA courtesy of the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.

Coming soon:
Kehinde Wiley: Equestrian Portrait of Prince Tommaso of Savoy-Carignan
March 3–September 29, 2019

This installation, the second in SBMA's Park Projects series, features a major painting that is an extension of the artist’s Rumors of War series, which takes the form of historic equestrian portraiture. Kehinde Wiley has become internationally recognized for his examinations of the aestheticizing of power and masculinity through the time-worn genre of portraiture. In the artist’s hands, this established genre expands in scale to over nine feet in each dimension, and explodes in color with a revelry of bold and bright hues. Opposed to tradition is also the fact that the sitters for these works are not the typical European nobleman in a powerful position but people the artist meets on the street, mostly from New York.  Special workshops and education programs are being planned for the duration of this project. Kehinde Wiley: Equestrian Portrait of Prince Tommaso of Savoy-Carignan work is made possible at SBMA by a generous loan as well as support from the Jeanne + Dennis Masel Foundation, and appears at SBMA courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles.

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The Mariners’ Grand Staircase (Armoured Stars, Flying Clouds)
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