For SLO local Sommer Roman, the decision to join one of the Wildling Museum's current group shows—Bio/Mass: Contemporary Meditations on Nature—was "a no-brainer." Following an invitation from the exhibit's curators, the prolific sculptor and illustrator jumped at the chance to participate.
"I love the Wildling Museum's mission of using art to foster conservation and awareness of our natural world," Roman said. "The natural world is a constant inspiration to my practice. My work shares a natural kinship with the mission of the museum, as well as the show's curatorial intent."
Roman is one of 11 featured artists (many of whom call San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, or Ventura counties their home) included in the nature-themed exhibit at the Solvang venue. Over the past few months, some of the show's participants have been highlighted in the Wildling Museum's virtual artist talk series.
- Photos Courtesy Of The Wildling Museum Of Art And Nature
- ZOOM DUO In conjunction with its Bio/Mass: Contemporary Meditations of Nature group exhibition, the Wildling Museum has been hosting a virtual artist spotlight series via Zoom. The next entry (Wednesday, Sept. 1, from 4 to 5 p.m.) features San Luis Obispo-based artist Sommer Roman (pictured, left) and Santa Barbara-based artist Maria Rendón (pictured, right).
Joined by fellow Central Coast artist Maria Rendón from Santa Barbara, Roman will take part in the series' next entry, offered on Wednesday, Sept. 1, from 4 to 5 p.m. via Zoom. Topics of discussion will include both artists' backgrounds, studio practices, and artistic processes.
If Roman had to choose one word to describe her own process, it would be intuitive, she explained.
"A lot of it is an intuitive process and a dance between myself and the materials. They lead as much as I do," said the local artist, who uses a mixture of media to create her unconventional, hybridized sculptures, described as "beings that exist somewhere between real and imaginary."
So what's the trick to capturing abstraction and reality simultaneously?
"There's no real formula of maintaining that balance, but it's something I'm definitely conscious of," Roman said. "Sometimes, all it takes are small shifts here or there in color, material, form, scale, or orientation that can help preserve some 'strangeness' and keep it from becoming too representational or predictable."
Bio/Mass will remain on display at the Wildling Museum through Sunday, Sept. 5, and hopeful viewers are encouraged to take advantage of free exhibit admission on Sunday, Aug. 29, during the museum's Summer Open House festivities. Some of the exhibit's featured artists will be present to discuss their artworks. This celebratory event is also slated to offer children's activities for younger attendees to enjoy.
"I'm happy to see how family-friendly they're making it," Roman said. "I hope to attend with my husband and our two kiddos in tow, with masks."
While keeping a close eye on local COVID-19 case numbers, the Wildling Museum has adjusted some of its original plans for the upcoming event, Assistant Director Lauren Sharp explained.
"Parties and Paint by Kate will now be providing a special 'princess experience' with temporary tattoos and stickers for kids and families to take home, instead of our original on-site face-painting plans," Sharp said. "Masks are also required inside the Wildling Museum at this time."
- Courtesy Photo By Craft And Cluster
- LOOK WHO'S INSIDE AGAIN The public is encouraged to take advantage of free exhibit admission on Sunday, Aug. 29, during the Wildling Museum's Summer Open House festivities. Some of the Bio/Mass exhibit's featured artists will be present to discuss their artworks during the free event. Attendees are required to wear masks while inside the museum.
A lot of the festivities will be held outside the museum though, including food truck offerings, which Wildling Museum Executive Director Stacey Otte-Demangate said is a first that she's looking forward to.
"We've never had a food truck at any of our events before, and we're excited to have A/R Catering here with us that afternoon. I sampled their sliders at Sunstone Vineyard last month and knew we had to have them," Otte-Demangate said. "We also felt it was a safe way to have food while keeping it outside with the added bonus of supporting an area business too."
But even as the museum cautiously "tiptoes" back into hosting in-person events, its organizers plan to continue producing a diverse range of virtual programming, Sharp added.
"We've truly embraced Zoom programming over the last year and a half and plan to continue providing special offerings," Sharp said. "Our artists and guest speakers have enjoyed the flexibility of being able to present anywhere with Zoom, and our guests have likewise enjoyed being able to participate from throughout the county and beyond. While the Wildling Museum is a smaller museum, virtual programming allows us to widen our reach." Δ
Reach out to Calendar Editor Caleb Wiseblood at [email protected].