Art, Featured Exhibits

Interlopings: Colors in the Warp and Weft of Ecological Entanglements

Helén Svensson and Lisa Jevbratt
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Gallery
December 11, 2022 -
April 16, 2023
About the exhibit:

Helén Svensson and Lisa Jevbratt use non-native plants growing on Santa Cruz to dye yarn and wool from Santa Cruz Island Sheep (a breed endemic to, but now removed from the island).  The plants they use have a rich history of nutritional, magical, and medicinal uses in their countries of origin.  

Santa Cruz Island is undergoing an intensive ecological restoration process. The project explores perceptions of “invasive species” and aims to complicate questions regarding who and what belongs on that island and by extension on any island, real or imagined. The work seeks to participate in discussions about the migration of plants and microorganisms, immigrants, and colonizers across our globe.  

The exhibition consists of weavings and data visualizations showcasing and organizing the resulting colors in an attempt to create a deeper understanding of these plants and our relationship with them. In conjunction with the exhibition, there will be opportunities for the public to engage with the materials and processes directly through workshops and demonstrations. 

Interlopings: Invasive Species / Endemic Breeds (ucsb.edu)

About the artists:

Helén Svensson is a Swedish artist who has been active since the late 1990s. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from The Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Sweden. Svensson has had solo exhibitions at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts and at Gallery Fagerstedt and Gallery Peter Bergman in Stockholm, Sweden, and has participated in group exhibitions at Nichols Gallery, Pitzer College Art Galleries, Claremont, Art Copenhagen, The Nordic Art Fair and International Biennale of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia.  

Svensson´s work is based on her own premises and rules. It is a methodical inquiring process consisting a slow movement in a given direction. With form and sign she visualizes our basic need to control, organize and manipulate our surroundings. The repetitive doing is the method, and the movement in the process is meant to be reflected in the form, ultimately an attempt to add traces in the work. She often starts from the visual, and the choice of material is determined by the expression of each work. They can be individual works as well as parts in a larger context. 


Lisa Jevbratt an interdisciplinary artist and professor of art at UCSB. Jevbratt’s work has been exhibited internationally in venues such as The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), The New Museum (New York), The Swedish National Public Art Council (Stockholm, Sweden), Centro Colombo Americano (Bogota), Somerset House (London), Miniart Textile – International Fibre Art Exhibition (Como, Italy) and the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York). Her animal vision simulation app Zoomorph ­was awarded a Creative Capital grant.  

Concerned with systems – natural and man-made – Jevbratt’s work is making visible the forces, assumptions and contradictions acting within them. After years of writing software visualizing large datasets from the Internet, she started collaborating with non-human animals and plants. She works in a wide range of mediums, from computer programming and 3D printing to natural dyeing, spinning and weaving. The projects often juxtapose and amalgamate scientific epistemological approaches with alternative ways of knowing. With her software, apps, tools and participatory events she is inviting the audience to make discoveries together. 


Photo: A data visualization of the wide array of colors that the natural dyes made from invasive species produce. (Jevbratt) 
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