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'Stripe,' by Daniella Woolf. Encaustic, 12 inches by 12 inches.
2-D or Not 2-D: 2008 Rydell Fellowship recipient Daniella Woolf, whose work has shown in London, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, exhibits her encaustic paintings at 'Art for Art,' opening June 6 at the Mill Gallery.

Out of The Shadows

Artists of national stature who call Santa Cruz home gather in a rare exhibit to benefit the Tannery

By Maureen Davidson

Light from inside and outside the wi ndow of a moving subway car reflects waiting faces, suspends moments of lives. Caught on the surface or through the glass, eyes look inward, faces compose themselves, hands hang on to straps, shoulders hunch against benches. Within a swiftly moving steel frame, the subway window becomes a rich and complex composition of exterior interacting with harshly lit interior. Designer Braces is a mixed-media work by Sara Friedlander that catches a world in transit, humans encapsulated by a speeding train, their individuality and essence tucked away for safety in this glaringly exposed place. Originally a photographer, Friedlander has used dozens of photographs, melded and composed on computer, then collaged on a panel and painted, to derive a lush and impossible unity of time and space.

Designer Braces is one of more than 100 artworks and Sara Friedlander one of 27 artists who have joined in a weekend exhibition that opens Friday evening, June 6, at the Mill Gallery in Santa Cruz. Even in a community as rich in artists and exhibitions as this is, "Art for Art" promises to be a must-see event and a rare opportunity to see the work of many artists of national renown who live and work in the Santa Cruz area but rarely if ever exhibit locally.

Some months ago, Friedlander and painter D. Hooker invited friends and artist-mentors to join them in creating a fundraiser to support the development of the Tannery Arts Center. With its artist live-work spaces now under construction, and a complex of individual and group studio spaces and an educational center soon to follow, the Tannery Arts Center, according to Friedlander, "will clearly make all of our lives richer and fuller".

"Art for Art," Friedlander believes, shows that the artists of the community "are ready, we really want this. With few galleries in the county, many really fine artists have never shown their work here."

Linda Christensen, a color-field painter who emerged from UCSC in the late '80s, has for decades been represented by galleries in New York and Laguna Beach. Don Fritz earned his undergraduate degrees from UCSC, where he still lectures while exhibiting internationally. His wry retro-cartoon-based paintings are widely collected and published. They pre-date the current craze for anime and appropriate the surface sweetness of life in the American 1950s to explore gender identity, consumerism and the innocence of childhood. Jody Alexander is one of the nation's most respected artists working in the form of books but little known locally.

Madeline de Joly, like Christensen and Fritz, attended UCSC, where she received a BA in art history and printmaking. This followed her earlier BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. De Joly's art is completely integrated with her spiritual pursuits. Since the 1980s, her work has been exhibited in prestigious galleries internationally, acquired by museums and dozens of international corporate collections and reviewed by all the major art publications. In exquisitely crafted two- and three-dimensional mixed-media works that often involve fiber, paper, photography and found objects, she materializes Vedic literature and understandings arising from her spiritual practice. There is nothing derivative or corny. "Art for Art" includes several of her two-dimensional works, like Vagbhatt, a mixed-media piece that, with simple elegance, speaks of breath.

"I exhibit in galleries in Houston, New York, Chicago and Santa Fe, but never here," says de Joly. "People call or email me about my work from all over the world, but at home here, I have maintained a more private existence. When I was asked to participate in this show I was very happy to be part of it. I want to give back to the community that I've been successful 'from,' if not 'in.'"

Daniella Woolf, Will Marino and Robert Larson--all current and recent recipients of the Rydell Visual Arts fellowships--have joined the "Art for Art" throng. "It's important that the Tannery Arts Center be a success," says Larson. "I'm interested in live-work space myself, but beyond that, such an art presence will be a great benefit for every facet of the Santa Cruz community."

All artists are donating 20 percent of their sales to the Tannery Art Center. The Mill Gallery is also donating its commission.

ART FOR ART opens Friday, June 6, at 5:30pm and continues through June 8 at the Mill Gallery, 131 Front St., Santa Cruz. Artists from the show will exhibit works at the Mill Gallery through July 6; a preview exhibition continues at Lulu Carpenters, 1545 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, through July 9.

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