The Santa Barbara County Arts Commission is proud to announce an evocative exhibition, Threshold, with water-themed photography by Allan Hancock College film and video instructors Michele Simonsen and Tim Webb. The exhibit will open on January 30 at the Channing Peake Gallery and a reception for the artist will be held on 1st Thursday, February 2, from 5-8 p.m. in the gallery. The reception and exhibition are open to the public.
Threshold explores the beauty of light flowing through the water in the Trinity River in Northern California. Over the years, the couple has taken hundreds of images of the river. Simonsen traces the lure of the Trinity River back to her childhood when her parents purchased property on the river. Once the couple met in Arcata after college graduation, they discovered a shared love of photography and filmmaking, and Simonsen introduced the Trinity River to Hancock. During breaks from graduate school, the couple would escape the city and the technology of filmmaking with tranquil visits to the Trinity River property, where they took dozens of photographs exploring personal themes through portraiture and experimental photography.
After the couple obtained their graduate degrees in 2000, both taught at Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore, Southeast Asia’s only film school. While there, both husband and wife explored many nearby islands. In Malaysia the couple first took their cameras into the water and began exploring the beauty of light flowing through water.
Upon their return to the U.S. in 2002, they began this same exploration in the temperate waters of the Trinity river and other Northern California rivers. Webb uses natural light and a Nikonos III, an older 35mm underwater camera using traditional film, to capture the experimental underwater landscaped in both black and white and color, while Simonsen moves weightlessly in the cool water. The ongoing project has been a family affair since 2002 when the couple’s daughter, Ula, was born. The family visits the Trinity yearly, and Ula is a subject in many of the images taken over the countless hours under and over the river.
The exhibition will be open January 30 – April 13, Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Channing Peake Gallery on the 1st floor in the County Administration Building. On 1st Thursday’s, March 1, at 6 p.m. a walk-thru gallery talk conducted by the artists will be held.
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