Siempre Más / Always More – Finally Back!

Minga Opazo’s Provocative Take on Textiles Today

September 19 – October 31, 2020
Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara Gallery

Untitled, recycle clothing weave, 22”x29”, 2020

Siempre más, recycled clothing, 30”x4”, 2019

Mejor que sobre que falte, recycled clothing, 10”x18”, 2020

After postponing Minga Opazo’s exhibition, Siempre Más / Always More, in July due to COVID-19 , we are now thrilled to announce that this vibrant exhibition of colorful, textile works will finally open on September 19 through October 31. Visitors are invited to view the exhibition on Saturdays, 1:00 to 4:00 pm and by appointment. The artist will be present on September 19 & October 24. (Self-screening, masks, and social distancing are required.) A live, online Conversation with Minga Opazo and Yessica Torres of Dab Art Gallery (LA) will take place on Friday, October 2 at 5:00 pm. *details to be announced*

In Siempre Más / Always More, Opazo explores the relationship of textiles to climate change, contemporary industrial textile production, and Chilean textile history. A fourth-generation craftsperson from Chile, Opazo exposes the unsustainable and dehumanizing practices of international textile production through large-scale weavings and installations made of found and recycled textiles.

For centuries, textiles for clothing in Chile were created by human hands using natural materials. These craft traditions shaped Chilean culture, providing work, artistic expression, and a sense of identity to local communities. With the invention of polyester, Lycra, and nylon, and the dictatorial regime of Augusto Pinochet (from 1973 to 1990), Chile’s doors opened to the free market; mass-produced garments flooded in. Natural dyes and hand looms were replaced by artificial dyes, machines, and dehumanizing assembly lines. Opazo’s series, Mejor Que Sobre Que Falte (Better Too Much Than Too Little), refers to the resulting glut of discarded, chemically infused garments, which cannot be absorbed back into the natural world and are now being buried under Chilean soil.

Siempre Más / Always More includes wall sculptures, installations, and a new, site-specific weaving outdoors on the 2nd story porch railing of the Architectural Foundation, facing Victoria Street. This temporary installation highlights the fact that while the colors of used clothing will fade, the clothing will never completely disintegrate. Opazo comments, “We live in an era of excess, we consume and throw away. We don’t see the massive amount of overproduction in our everyday life, it’s invisible to us, tucked away.”

Minga Opazo received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (2020) and her BA from University of California Berkeley (2015). She maintains a weaving studio in Ventura and another in Joshua Tree for large scale installations. She was Artist-in-Residence at the Banff Art Center (Canada), the Acre Residency (Wisconsin) and the Haystack Mountain School (Maine), had solo shows at Dab Art Gallery (LA), the CAM Studio Gallery (Oxnard), and large public installations at the HUD Gallery and the Museum of Ventura County.

The Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara has been enhancing our community’s appreciation of the built environment since 1983. The AFSB Gallery is located in the historic Acheson House at the corner of Garden and East Victoria Streets in Santa Barbara. Regular gallery hours are Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 pm and weekdays by appointment.

Hole in the Wall

July 16 – September 12, 2019


Hole in the Wall is a capsulized study into unnoticed aspects of the physical world as well as the dark corners of Michael Long’s mind. Blending aspects of real, typically local, architecture with images from his imagination, Long creates unique assemblage boxes that emit a preternatural vibe.  He draws from the twin wellsprings of his recurring childhood dreams, nightmares, and memories and his careful observations of actual buildings in Santa Barbara. These small, precisely constructed works are eerie reminders of forgotten spaces – both interior and exterior – surreal architectural fragments that evoke curiosity and a myriad of associations and feelings in viewers.

For this series, Long built his wooden boxes by hand and incorporated vintage papers as well as “discarded, recycled, and unwanted things”.  Each of these creepy yet elegant “dream boxes” conjures up a time and place that only exists in his mind.  Like miniature, psychological movie sets or weird, diminutive stages, they bubble up from the depths of a restless soul seeking and often finding a strange stillness and evocative beauty. 

Through-line: Brooks Institute, a culture for photographic education

January 24 – March 6, 2019


This exhibition looks at the experience of the school through the art of three alumni who became educators, bringing with them pieces of the Brooks’ legacy to be passed on in their own classrooms.

For over 70 years Brooks Institute provided a visual arts education to an international gathering of students in Santa Barbara. Brooks was unique in its immersive focus on imaging arts – photography, film, photojournalism – and in its educational philosophy of hands-on learning provided by practitioners in their field. 

Christopher Broughton, Christy Gutzeit and Ralph Clevenger came to Brooks with a passion for the art and craft of photography. What they encountered was an intangible mixture of location, pedagogy, and mentoring which fueled their unique professional paths.

Through-line showcases moments from each photographer’s career. Christopher Broughton’s photographic black and white series, “Anhydrous – Our Unquenchable Thirst”, explores the anthropogenic landscape shaped by our endeavor to control water in the west. Ralph Clevenger exhibits a selection of work that demonstrates the connection between the photographer, the subject, and the viewer. In this case the subjects are animals from around the world, each animal’s portrait revealing a story in a single frame. Christy Gutzeit’s personal work is inspired by the ebb and flow of the ocean’s energy, calm one moment and forceful the next. Using multiple layers of materials combined with photography, she explores the transient nature of the waves of water and the power they have to imprint and erase.

Each of these image-makers has continued the legacy of their education by becoming educators themselves, teaching craft and professionalism while imparting their passion for photography to new generations of students. Currently, they are all part of a new collaboration established by The Ernest Brooks Foundation called “Brooks at UCSB” which is hosted by UC Santa Barbara’s Professional and Continuing Education department.