Past Exhibitions

Signs of Life | September 11 - November 30, 2014


Descanso Gardens was honored to participate in the 2014 edition of the AxS Festival ( AxS Festival’s theme Curiosity was chosen to coincide with the second anniversary of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory rover Curiosity’s mission to discover more about Mars. What would really electrify us Earthlings is if Curiosity turned up signs of life. And in our world, that means the presence of water. Signs of Life explores this theme of water as a life-giving necessity. more.

Pictured: 'Big Sur' by Matthew Chase-Daniel

Abstracting From Nature | May 4 - July 27, 2014


Toward the Heart of the Matter: Abstracting From Nature presented artists  subject matter begins with nature but, through a rigorous process of  artistic choice, reduction and focus transforms the natural and everyday into the abstract and mysterious. The exhibition showcased the work of some leading contemporary California artists, whose search for artistic  truth and timelessness has taken them on a journey that begins with  nature and ends in works of art that sought to get at the essence of things  and inspired us to do the same. more

 Pictured: Detail from "Ikebana" by Robin Mitchell

Portraits of the Garden | Jan. 12 - March 30, 2014

This exhibition was the Sturt Haaga Gallery's first juried and invitational art exhibition. Three artists were commissioned and produced new work for this show: Astrid Preston in painting; Steve Roden in painting and sound; and Linda Hudson’s work, transverse — two artworks made with plant material appearing on the gallery’s exterior walls. More than 150 individual artists submitted 300 artworks for consideration in the juried show. The participating artists are listed in the exhibition brochure. Click here to see member Tanja Barnes' 360-degree view of the exhibition. more

Pictured: "Sweet Spring" by Astrid Preston

ELEMENTAL: Of the Earth | Sept. 8 - Nov. 24, 2013

Scholar's Rock IV by Keiko Fukazawa

For this show, the second in the ELEMENTAL series, curatorial coordinator John David O’Brien assembled a group show of artists who work with materials and ideas that are quite literally “of the earth” — rocks, earth, soil, sand, clay, and glaze — and artists whose work explores the deep tectonic and geologic forces beneath our feet. more

Pictured: "Scholar's Stone IV" by Keiko Fukazawa

Dangerous Beauties
May 7 - July 28, 2013

Dangerous Beauties paired paintings and photographs of great formal beauty and design, but which depict all manner of natural manmade disasters such as fires, oil spills, and radioactive waste dumpsites, with terrariums and pots filled with beautiful but dangerous plants. The show’s message was, sometimes we mistake “beauty” for “goodness”—and we do so at our own peril. more

Pictured: Detail from wall mural painted by Mark Licari in the loggia gallery.

The WILD Flowers: Nature Re-imagined | Jan. 13 - March 31, 2013

This show presented a big bouquet of work by 17 contemporary artists who live and work in California. Paintings, sculpture, drawings and media pieces celebrated the beauty and diversity of flowers — but they were flowers never seen before because they all live only in their creators’ imaginations. more

Pictured: "Potentilia multijuja" by Penelope Gottlieb

ELEMENTAL: Arboressence | Sept. 9 - Nov. 25, 2012

From time to time, shows will be mounted that focus on a common element to be found in the garden. The first of the ELEMENTAL shows focused on the art-making possibilities and inspirations of wood and trees. From tools to shelter to furniture, we are surrounded by wood. But in the hands of artists, wood can take on many new personalities, as revealed in ELEMENTAL: Arboressence. more

Pictured: Horse sculpture by Deborah Butterfield

Seen & Scene: The Imagined Landscape | May 11 - Aug. 3, 2012

The depiction of landscape is one of art’s oldest and most enduring pursuits. With Seen & Scene, we were interested in contemporary interpretations of the notion of “landscape” itself. Seven artists offered their imaginary landscapes depicted in a variety of media — painting, photography, mixed media, sculpture. more
Pictured: Detail of "Fall" by Alison Saar

Closely Observed | Sept. 16, 2011 - March 30, 2012

Closely Observed: The Botanical Photographs of Andrea Baldeck was the inaugural exhibition in the Sturt Haaga Gallery. The exhibition consisted of 88 photographs by Philadelphia-based artist Andrea Baldeck’s photographs. Her work follows in the long tradition of black-and-white photography at the intersection of science and art begun by Henry Blossfeldt and then carried into the 20th century by artists such as Harry Callahan and Edward Weston. more.
Pictured: "Moonflower" by Andrea Baldeck