Nature vs. Nurture Opens at galerie102 in Ojai, with paintings by Santa Barbara artist Masha Keating
and sculpture by East Coast based, Molly Smith

‘Conversation Series’ with artists set for Feb. 2.
By Helen Solomon

Ojai, CA – galerie102 is pleased to present “Nature vs. Nurture,” a two-person exhibit on view January 18 to February 23, featuring paintings by Masha Keating and sculpture by Molly Smith. The second installment of the gallery’s popular Conversation Series, with the artists, will be held on Sunday, February 2 from 2 to 4 p.m.

“Nature vs. Nurture” explores both artists’ interpretation of the natural world and the transformation of those objects found in nature and the importance of an individual’s innate qualities versus personal experience,” says gallery owner/director Jolene Lloyd.

Keating’s large-scale abstract works are an exercise in observation and exploration, delicateness and boldness. Her work embraces the discovery and surprise that comes with the process, resulting in a lucid, free-flowing example of exploration. A flower becomes a gigantic symphony of movement and a figure gets lost within the velocity of the flower. “To me, the process begins with the interpretation of an organic form, whether it be a plant, landscape, or, more recently, a figure in motion,” says Keating. “Then the painting becomes a metaphor for life; every element informing and influencing one another, each an integral part of the whole.”

Keating was born in Moscow, Russia in 1977 and immigrated to the United States in 1990. She attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and in 1999 received a BFA from the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Her work was exhibited in solo at the ARC Gallery in Chicago, IL. Keating’s paintings are held in many private and public collections across the country, including the permanent collection of the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport in Santa Barbara.

Today, Keating lives and works in Santa Barbara.

Sculptor Smith uses found and handmade materials; as seen in her piece ebb constructed out of a piece of handmade cornhusk paper gently interlaid on a slab of split wood. Her sculptures rest, hang, and balance in arrangements that emphasize the transience and ephemeral quality of the natural world, also suggesting the possibility of further transformation.

To create the works for this exhibit, Smith has made each new environment her studio. “For the better part of last year I traveled across the country and along the way I made artwork out of materials that I collected from the places I passed through,” says Smith. “For me, this way of working matches the fleeting nature of my impressions and my hope is that the objects hold the energy of the instance of their creation and resonate a sense of presence, of being aware of a moment.”

Smith was born in 1976 in Kansas City, Missouri. She obtained her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1999 and her MFA from Columbia University in 2004. She has had solo exhibitions at Kate Werble Gallery, New York, Romer Young Gallery, San Francisco, Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, CA and KS Art, New York.

Today, Smith lives and works in a timber frame house that she and her partner Josh built in the woods of Worthington, MA.

galerie102 is located at 102 W. Matilija St. in downtown Ojai. For more information visit or call (805) 640-0151.