Bears Come Out of the Wild and into Sullivan Goss Gallery

Posted on Aug 9 by SEASONS Magazine

Contemporary Bears exhibit is on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery, courtesy photos.

The work of artists (clockwise from top left) Pamela Schiffer, Susan McDonnell, Nicole Strasburg, Beth Van Housen and Adonna Khare from the Contemporary Bears exhibit on view at Sullivan Goss Gallery. Courtesy photos.

A few years ago, Sullivan Goss curator Susan Bush began to notice the number of artists regularly depicting bears in their works. Artists had begun to choose bears as their subject matter not only to show the profound beauty of the animal but also to raise awareness to their fragile existence and habitat in North America.

The Contemporary Bear Area Artists exhibition aims to showcase the majestic North American bear while informing visitors of the effects that a growing human population, climate change and changes in hunting regulations have on bears.

The five artists chosen for this exhibition not only depict the beauty of nature but also believe in its preservation. The love of and respect for nature is shown in each artist’s work in this exhibition, as they take on the Brown Bear, Grizzly Bear, Polar Bear and Black Bear.

Among Adonna Khare’s work featured in this exhibition is a seven foot drawing of a bear surrounded by animal friends which honors the balance between all animals in nature. Her whimsical carbon pencil on paper drawings bring an element of fantasy to the strong persona of the bear. Nicole Strasburg’s intimate gouache portraits and major oil paintings depict the tranquility of nature while showing the vulnerability of the Alaskan Brown Bears and Polar Bears. Susan McDonnell combines illusion and reality as she paints her home state’s Black Bears from a wildlife sanctuary in Minnesota. Artist, Pamela Kendall Schiffer portrays the Grizzly Bear among serene landscapes in Yellowstone National Park, one of the bear’s only remaining homes in the United States. The esteemed artist, Beth Van Hoesen dedicated her artistic career to depictions of nature. Her painting Black Bear from 1985 is a commanding portrait asking us all to pay attention.  

Contemporary Bear Area Artists is on display through September 16.

Sullivan Goss Gallery is located at 11 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara. For more information, visit or call 805/730-1460.

—Taryna Hollinger


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