Unfolding in Blue

“Unfolding in Blue,” by Masha Keating, acrylic on linen

Ojai’s galerie102 will present “Nature vs. Nurture,” an exhibit featuring works by Santa Barbara artist Masha Keating and East Coast sculptor Molly Smith. The show will be on view Jan. 18 through Feb. 23. The opening reception with artists will be Jan. 18, from 4 to 6 p.m.

“‘Nature vs. Nurture’ concerns the importance of an individual’s innate qualities versus personal experience,” said gallery owner Jolene Lloyd. “The exhibit reflects Smith’s and Keating’s interpretation and transformation of objects found in the natural world. A flower becomes a gigantic symphony of movement and ordinary twisted rope, wood, and rag dance in space.”

Masha Keating painting

“Wingspan,” by Masha Keating, oil on canvas on two 4-feet by 8-feet panels

Keating’s large-scale, abstract works contrast both the delicateness and boldness found in nature. Floral and organic imagery take on a fantastic and surreal quality. Her paintings invite the viewer on a journey of discovery beteen precise line–prominently found in Japanese art–and the freedom of fluidity found in modern dance pieces by Martha Graham.

Keating was born in Moscow 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. Today, she lives and works in Santa Barbara.

Molly Smith - Brush

“Brush,” by Molly Smith, sagebrush, T-shirt

In sculptor Smith’s hands, ordinary everyday objects such as wire, wood, rope and rag become anthropomorphic. Whether poised against a wall or hanging from the ceiling, one half expects the sculptures to come to life any minute and complete their dance in the forest. Her subtle and deft use of color also begs the question whether or not she had something to do with it of found it as is in the natural world.

Smith was born in 1976 in Kansas City. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1999 and her MFA from Columbia University in 2004. She currently lives and works in a timber frame cabin that she and her partner built in Worthington, Mass.

galerie102 is at 102 W. Matilija St. Hours are Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.galerie102.com or call 640-0151.