I’ve been visiting the Crocker Art Museum since I was a child, and when the museum underwent a major expansion and reopened in 2010, an incredible seascape by Jennifer Bartlett became one of the museum’s most iconic pieces. The painting is the first piece visitors see upon arrival; its sheer size (thirty feet long), luminous palate, soothing subject and intricate brushwork lures viewers for closer inspection. The painting is titled Pacific Ocean and was painted in 1984.
Born in Long Beach, California, Bartlett studied at Mills College in Oakland and then at the Yale School of Art and Architecture. In the 1980’s, she painted scenes derived from photographs. She considered such paintings twice removed from reality: the first being the act of photography itself; the second, painting from the reproduction.
It’s easy to see why I’ve wanted to match this painting since the beginning of Dressed To Match, and it’s probably also easy to see why it has taken me so long to find a dress that goes with it! But like they say, patience is a virtue, and I finally stumbled on an amazing collaborative effort by Bay Area designer Erica Tanov and Berkeley artist Tabitha Soren that fit the bill:
The rugged, northern California coastline and the power and beauty of its waves, captured by Berkeley artist Tabitha Soren are the subject of a collection created in Spring 2015, by Berkeley designer Erica Tanov. The photographic series has resulted in a limited-run clothing and home accessories collection this summer, accompanied by a photographic art show of the artist’s work, entitled “Panic Beach.” Starting initially with an image from Soren’s Panic Beach series, Tanov works with the artwork, transferring the photograph by digital screen-printing textiles, which is then subsequently fashioned into silk blouses, dresses, pillows and more. The Anthropologie dress, now currently available, is based on the original from the past season.
“Capturing these pictures was a way for me – and an invitation for the viewer – to dive into the unpredictability and complexity of life. It’s not as if we have much choice about the havoc anyway,” says artist Tabitha Soren. “Working alongside Erica Tanov, it was an exciting challenge to see how my work could be translated into wearable pieces of art and home accessories.”
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Erica Tanov is a designer who seeks beauty in all forms. Working with the finest opulent fabrics, embracing meticulous construction and subtle detailing, yet always drawn to raw, natural beauty, both Tanov’s clothing and homeware collections exude a relaxed, lived-in grandeur. The collections demonstrate her vision of bringing together understated luxury and glamour with ease and comfort. While most of her apparel collection is made in San Francisco, she also works with traditional artisans around the world to keep their unique techniques and crafts alive. After studying at Parsons School of Design in New York, and subsequently working for designer Rebecca Moses, Erica launched her eponymous clothing label in 1990 then returned to the Bay Area in 1994 to open her first retail store. Today, there are two Erica Tanov retail stores in Berkeley and Larkspur, which carry her clothing as well as her expanding homeware collection. She is also part of a designer collective at 97 Crosby in New York, which showcases pieces from her year-round essentials collection. Her home, stores and design studio have been featured in various books, blogs and magazine, including Elle Decoration UK, Martha Stewart Living, Anthology, 7×7, Remodelista, “Undecorate” (Clarkson/Potter), “Bringing Nature Home” (Rizzoli) and “The New Bohemians” by Justina Blakeney (Abrams).
Tabitha Soren’s work visualizes psychological states; the internal weather that storms through each of us. Her “Running” series depicted the flight or flight response. “Fantasy Life” is about what it looks like to try to touch greatness. “Surface Tension” foregrounds the anxiety we navigate in the struggle to adapt to technological domination. The large oceanscapes of “Panic Beach” upend the viewer as panic attacks do. Her work is in the collections of the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Oakland Museum of California. She left a career in television in the late 19902 to start another as a photographer. Soren was born in San Antonio, Texas, and now lives in Berkeley, California.
I visited the Crocker Art Museum this weekend to do a match with a piece I have had my eye on for the past few months. Believe it or not, this is my first match at the Crocker! I think it has taken me so long to do a match there because there are so, so many options. This piece is located on the first floor near the lobby and is by Albert Contreras. The piece is untitled and consists of 15 panels. The artist used large homemade spatulas to create the “x” shapes through his vibrant acrylic paint. This method results in heavily impasto paintings which dazzle and delight with their repetitive, colorful patterning.
I have to say, I am pretty excited about this Milly dress that I chose to match with Contreras’ piece! I’ve paired Milly dresses with several pieces (here) this one is probably my favorite because of the thick material it’s made out of. The dress is structured but comfortable and the pattern isn’t printed but woven. The intersection of colors definitely reminds me of the cross hatches in the paintings. To finish the look, I’m wearing my favorite Jimmy Choo’s. I call these my wedding shoes because I think I’ve worn them to every Spring / Summer wedding I’ve attended in the past year. They’re pricey, but very wearable and can be paired with just about any dress. Definitely worth it.