Artscapes: Laguna Art Museum Opens Three Exhibitions

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The Blue Pacific by Miss Hills

By Petrina Friede | NB Indy

 Renowned Laguna Beach landscape impressionist Miss Anna Althea Hills (1882-1930) received her well-deserved recognition from current generations of art lovers and supporters of the Laguna Art Museum with the opening of three new exhibitions on view through January 15.

The exhibit includes 60 paintings by Miss Hills along with documentary materials and a fully illustrated catalog showcasing her art and monumental philanthropic and cultural contributions, as well as artist Kristin Leachman’s “Xylem Rays” (a series of paintings of textural imagery) and a monumental installation from Phillip K. Smith III called “Bent Parallel” that merges optics, scale and technology.

Miss Hills of Laguna Beach was one of the highly talented artists who helped create the aura of Laguna Beach and Southern California as a premier art colony. She was a modern woman in spirit and attitude, even though her prominent period was almost a century ago. She helped shape the local art culture and was instrumental in bringing art education to school children.

Most importantly, she was a founding member of the Laguna Beach Art Association in 1918 and raised money through private

Mt. San Jacinto by Miss Hills
Mt. San Jacinto by Miss Hills

citizens to get the Steele Gallery built on its present location in 1929. She is a hero to many and recognized as an amazing leader.

Her light infused palette knife oils are nostalgic reminders of the beauty of our South County before human encroachment.

Greeting the enthusiastic crowd of patrons during the opening festivities, popular museum Executive Director Malcolm Warner addressed the significance of the fall exhibit openings.

“All three exhibitions are key to the Art & Nature festival (held at Laguna Art Museum November 3-6). Between them, those three artists show how wide a range of different ways there are to respond to nature through art. From traditional landscape and seascape paintings as in the Anna Hills exhibition to the imagery of natural forms seen really close up, a microcosmic view,  represented by Kristin Leachman. And then in the case of Phillip K. Smith  the commission and orchestration of amazing light effects.”

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