The Red-Headed Stepchild: The History of Collage & Assemblage in Santa Barbara: 1955-2018

Posted on Sep 13 by SEASONS Magazine

The Red-Headed Stepchild: The History of Collage & Assemblage in Santa Barbara: 1955-2018. Courtesy Sullivan Goss An American Art Gallery.


Collage and assemblage is an art form often overlooked as fine art and is instead considered child’s play. This is how artist Sue Van Horsen and Sullivan Goss curator Jeremy Tessmer came up with the title for this exhibition.

“Yeah, we’re like the red-headed stepchild,” she says, as she explains how assemblage artists get invited to gatherings in the Santa Barbara art world only to be seated at the kid’s table.

For this reason,​ Sullivan Goss An American Art Gallery  presents The Red-Headed Stepchild: The History of Collage & Assemblage in Santa Barbara​: ​1955-2018​. The gallery’s commitment to showcasing a variety of art won’t be stopped as they present an exhibition dedicated to the history of assemblage art in Santa Barbara.


Power Plant by John Bernhardt. Courtesy Sullivan Goss.

In the mid ’50s William Dole (1910-1985) gained international fame while living in Santa Barbara for his delicate paper collages. It wasn’t until 1959 when John Bernhardt ​(1921-1963)​ became the city’s first assemblage artist. With roots in Synthetic Cubism ​(1912-1914) and Dadaism (1913), the art form was sidelined until the mid 1950s, when Bernhardt, without knowledge of other artists’ work, took it up.

Over the years, many artists have followed in Bernhardt’s footsteps, all while knowing the lack of notoriety they would receive. This exhibition is to showcase the rich history of collage and assemblage. Curator Jeremy Tessmer has produced a special hardcover book for the exhibition that outlines the history of collage and assemblage in Santa Barbara.

Included in the exhibit is the work of artist Mary Heebner. Her piece Veiled/Unveiled: Aphrodite is one of a series of eight delicate paper collages exploring the many layers of the face, in this case that of the Aphrodite sculpture in Santa Barbara Museum of Art‘s Ludington Court collection, currently on loan to the Getty Museum.  


Veiled/Unveiled: Aphrodite courtesy Mary Heebner.


With a forthcoming fine art book, Cassandra, which pairs her collages with the poem Cassandra by California poet Stephen Kessler, Heebner’s work is not to be missed.

Heebner’s work will be on display along with work by artists including: Tony Askew, Tal Avitzur, John Bernhardt, Peter Cole, William Dole, Nancy Gifford, Inga Guzyte, Frank Kirk, Philip Koplin, Dan Levin, Michael Long, Virginia McCracken, Ken Nack, Ron Robertson, Joe Shea, Susan Tibbles, Sue Van Horsen, Howard Warshaw, with others being announced soon.

The opening reception will be held on Thursday, October 4 from 5 – 8 p.m. The exhibition will be on view through October 14 and is located in the Second Gallery.

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

Taryna Hollinger


« »

Browse similar topics:

Datebook, Events, Featured, Fine Art, Galleries, Santa Barbara, Ticker, To Do, Web Exclusives

Related Posts