Local Artists Awarded at ‘TBH’

Local artists will be featured in the museum through June 15 (photo by Brad Elliott)

Mary Balda’s Chicago Tigua

A large crowd gathered inside and out for the opening of the annual juried exhibition of local artists, “[TBH]…To Be Honest,” at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art. Los Angeles gallery owner Walter Maciel juried the exhibition of 45 works, selecting the winners for top cash prizes on May 16. The Tri-County Juried Exhibition is open through June 15. 

Mary Balda of Ojai won Best of Show for Chicago Tigua, a vibrant 2-by-4-foot painting on panel that depicts a dreamlike mountain landscape that invites the viewer into a playful moment of people and bird watching. 

Kerrie Smith, an English artist who now lives in Santa Barbara, won 1st Honorable Mention for Gygantha Glorietta, which uses layers of bright clear colors to invoke a delightful, out-of-this-world cactus garden. 

Susan Tortorici of Montecito won 2nd Honorable Mention for I Know You Lied, an oil painting that that captures the accusatory moment with startling precision. 

Sara Yerkes, a Santa Barbara photographer, won 3rd Honorable Mention for her black-and-white photo I’ll Try Writing Instead, which features an antique typewriter with a message. 

Montecitan Steve Shelton’s painting, Exile/Exhale: Guitar Solo #70, is one of a series of guitar paintings that were the result of a poignant trip to Munich two years ago during the start of the Russia-Ukraine war. As he rode by train and plane, his thoughts were often with the Ukrainians forced to flee after the Russian invasion. The blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag found their way into the side of his painting. “While all the other paintings were guitar trios, this guitar stood alone,” he says. “As a musician I often play with others, but as a songwriter and painter I primarily stand alone.” 

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