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Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara

AFSB Gallery

Exceptional Art & Design

The Gallery/Conference Room of the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara is a dynamic space within a historic setting for curated exhibitions of contemporary art, photography and design. Four solo exhibitions and one group exhibition are presented annually. 

Local artists, architects, photographers, and designers are invited to submit work created in a wide range of content, mediums, and styles. Drawings of local landmarks from the Kids Draw Architecture (KDA) program are featured in December.

Our Friday evening Opening Receptions with the artists are open to all.  On Saturday afternoons, the Gallery is open for visitors to contemplate exhibitions at their leisure.  Throughout the year, we offer Artist Workshops with our featured artists and Art Talks with artists, gallery owners and curators, critics and art historians designed to foster creativity and community dialogue.

Through this lively exhibition and education program, the AFSB Gallery provides a unique forum for emerging and established artists, collectors, and art aficionados from the tri-county area.  

For information on how to apply for an exhibition, read our Mission & Guidelines or contact us.

Current Exhibition - UNCOMMON GROUND by Scott Johnson

January 13, 2024 – March 9, 2024

Opening Reception: January 12, 2024

Artist Talk: February 10, 2024

The Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara is pleased to present UNCOMMON GROUND, an exhibition of paintings and collages by Scott Johnson. 

Johnson is the Founding Design Partner of Johnson Fain, an international, award-winning architecture, urban design + planning, and interiors firm based in Los Angeles, and a long-time mixed-media artist. His paintings and collages chronicle his interest in the interplay between rational thinking and intuition, which translates to a visual dialogue between geometric forms and free forms, between logical pre-planning and invention and spontaneity. Added to the mix are familiar elements from our current media landscape in conversation with more personal, inscrutable ones.

The artistic persona of this multi-talented architect blossomed during the Covid months as he layered fragments of photographs, snippets of text, acrylic paint, and oil stick atop one another to create depth and texture and to bury certain meanings while allowing others to emerge. The process is both additive and subtractive, reminiscent of the evolution of cities such as Rome, Tokyo, and New York, and a fitting source of his unique artistic energy and renewal.

Johnson states: I always seem to be drawn to a process of positioning one thing against another as a way to build tension in the artwork. Life offers us a universe of choices and we constantly navigate between differences, the outcome of which is our work and who we are. In many ways, it’s an exploration of self.

Scott Johnson attended Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He is a past President of the AIA Los Angeles chapter, the past Director of the Master of Architecture Programs at USC and the author of numerous books including Uncommon Ground: Notes on the Visual Arts + Architecture (2021) and Inside Art (2023). In 2018, Johnson was a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome. He currently divides his time between Los Angeles and New York City and exhibits his artworks regularly.

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

All Images:

Black + Gray Works on paper  23″x28″ Acrylic and sand on paper