It’s a bit overwhelming. You walk out of a catwalk in a mall in Ventura County through a door, and it’s like stepping into a portal to a museum of contemporary art in Los Angeles or New York.
Two walls of a huge gallery are covered in what looks like a lush ivy hedge, made up of around 600 separate pieces.
Artist Luciana Abait describes her work. “My work is inspired by nature…what I really love to create are these landscapes,” said Abait.
Abait’s work is part of the Landscape through the eyes of abstraction collective exhibition at the California Museum of Art, Thousand Oaks.
Looking closely at the hundreds of pieces of the art installation, you see that they are handmade images of things like butterflies. “Ivy is made up of insects and animals,” she said. “I work with mixed media, so I work with photography and painting. I love bringing photography to a third dimension,” Abait said. “Each butterfly is individually made by me. It’s made of wood, and I’ve attached a photo I took of vegetation in California, then worked on that photo with acrylic paint and varnish. “
It is one of the works of six artists in this new exhibition devoted to contemporary landscape. “Landscape through the eyes of distraction was born out of the idea of helping visitors better appreciate contemporary art,” said Lynn Farrand, who is the museum’s senior curator. “It provides important examinations of our environment,” she said.
She leads us into another room, which is filled with nearly two dozen floor-to-ceiling fabric works.
Each is the size of a tree trunk and you feel like you are in the middle of a dark forest.
“It’s an installation by Claudia Parducci, and it’s called 23 columns. Everything is woven and knitted by hand,” Farrand said. “It brings up the idea of destruction and creation.”
Another room in the Thousand Oaks gallery is filled with different colors as neon pieces on the walls cast a bright glow in the dark area.
“It’s Laddie John Dill. He’s a wonderful neon artist, and if you stand a little further outside the room, you see the lines, the horizontal lines and the vertical lines that are really fundamental to the landscape,” Farrand said.
There are other works ranging from videos to mixed media projects by the six artists that reflect different aspects of contemporary interpretations of classical landscapes.
Landscape Through The Eyes of Abstraction runs through July 31 at the California Museum Of Art, Thousand Oaks. The museum is located on the second floor of The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks. It is open from Thursday to Sunday. Admission is free, but donations are suggested.