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Sullivan Goss presents a new exhibition, NIGHT MUST WAIT, for the gallery’s longest showing artist from the Central Coast, Robin Gowen. Robin has been showing with Sullivan Goss for over 16 years.

Best known for her ability to capture brilliant light and strong contrasts in the rolling hills of California, Robin’s “style” is nevertheless marked by a sense of restless exploration of new ideas. Short dauby brush strokes in one painting morph into long lyrical strokes in another. Pastel evocations of golden hills bathed in soft light sit alongside graphic presentations of trees in more primary colors. Gallery staff often joke that there must be several painters inside Robin vying for supremacy.

While Night Must Wait more or less focuses on the artist’s signature paintings of hills, there are also paintings of domestic interiors and even figure paintings. In particular, there is a wall of vivid paintings painted in Nigeria, where the artist grew up. Beautiful dark skinned figures standing out against golden grasses in the intense light of western Africa create a strangely appropriate foil for Gowen’s oak trees rising up to meet the sun out here. The artist first went to Nigeria in 1960, the year of their independence and left in 1967, when the family was evacuated because of Nigeria's civil war.


One also finds in some of her hill paintings a faint reference to the Chinese landscape paintings that the artist learned to copy as a small child. A strong sense of negative space, mastery of the fluid stroke, and an interest in the echoing shapes of rising hills abide in her work to this day. 

Robin Gowen was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. She graduated from Philips Exeter Academy and received her B.A. from Wellesley College. She is married to Bruce Tiffney, Dean of the College of Creative Studies at UCSB, paleobotanist, and chief critic of the biology and geology of her landscape paintings. She is also an accomplished author. Imajin Books recently published her novel set in Nigeria called "Night Must Wait," and a science fiction novel 'Future Past' is due out this year from Damnation Press


3:09 | Frank Goss

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