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Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara

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The variety of programs we offer range from experiential to educational to artistic. It can be a solo endeavor or a group activity, from visiting our new online gallery or our art gallery in person to attending an art opening. Or perhaps you want to attend a lecture or take part of a historic walking tour, there is something for everyone!

Current Exhibition - A Natural Curiosity by Nadya Brown

June 3 - August 12, 2023

Reception June 2, 2023

Architectural Foundation Gallery

The Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara is pleased to present  the exhibition, A Natural Curiosity, a solo exhibition of oil paintings by Nadya Brown.

In this series of lush paintings, Nadya Brown creates illusory, imaginary three-dimensional spaces that entice viewers to enter, explore, and examine closely. Through realistic drawing and highly saturated colors, these highly original depictions of decorative objects, flowers, birds, domestic spaces, and landscapes (often combined in a single painting) evoke time, light, and memory in a slightly surreal manner. Brown’s travels in Europe, Southeast Asia, and Mexico, plus living and working in different cultures provided much of the inspiration.

“As subject matter, I often use objects that I own, that I have seen in museums and on my travels or photographs I have taken for specific information. This information is imported and combined in my paintings to create geometrical and aesthetic compositions.”

Brown’s work is both a celebration of nature and of civilization. An example is her large triptych, Simonetta’s Library: A Brief History of Nature, a project completed over a year’s time during the pandemic. Brown states her concerns: “As questions arise about climate change, and consequently drastic changes to our land and marine environment, I focus on nature as subject matter and what it has to offer, and also how it is abused; these are issues that have gradually entered into my work.”

While an homage to the natural world, Simonetta’s Library features gracefully drooping tulips, leafy plants, shells, and exotic birds which occupy a crowded interior filled with books, elegant furniture, refined ceramics, and intriguingly, a pair of old-fashioned spectacles carefully placed near a shawl and evening gloves. Nature and civilization seem to co-exist beautifully in this painting, but perhaps those drooping tulips are silently asking us, for how long?

Nadya Brown was born and raised in England. She has since lived in Italy and Spain and now, Santa Barbara, California. After studies in Painting and Printmaking at Goldsmiths College, University of London, she received her MFA from Ohio University. She has exhibited her work extensively in solo and group shows both in the United States and the UK and she has taught at numerous universities and colleges in the U.S..

Gallery hours are Saturdays 1:00 – 4:00 pm and weekdays by appointment.


Simonetta’s Library, 48×72″ Oil on canvas

View of the Mountain with Tulips, Oaxaca, 20×30″ Oil on canvas

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