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New Conejo Valley art exhibition brings mix of contemporary landscape works to life

Artist Luciana Abait's massive new installation at the California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks is one of a half dozen celebrating contemporary landscapes, and our environment.

California Museum Of Art Thousand Oaks tries to get visitors to take a new look at the world around us through landscapes.

It’s a bit overwhelming. You step from a walkway in a Ventura County mall through a door, and it’s like you’ve entered a portal to a Los Angeles, or New York contemporary art museum.

Two walls of a huge gallery space are covered with what feels like a lush ivy hedge, made up of around 600 separate pieces.

Artist Luciana Abait describes her work. "My work is inspired by nature...what I really like to create is these landscapes," said Abait.

Abait's work is part of the Landscape Through The Eyes of Abstraction group exhibition at the California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks.

As you look closely at the hundreds of pieces in the art installation, you see they are handmade images of things like butterflies.

"The ivy is made up of insects, and animals," she said. "I work with mixed media, so I work with photography and painting. I like to take photography to a third dimension."

"Each butterfly is individually made by me," said Abait. It's made out of wood, and I attached a photograph that I took of vegetation in California, and then I worked over that photograph with acrylic paint and varnish."

It’s one of the works by six artists at this new exhibition focused on contemporary landscape. "

Landscape Through The Eyes Of Abstraction originated from the idea of helping the visitors better appreciate contemporary art," said Lynn Farrand, who is the museum’s Senior Curator. "It provides important examinations of our surroundings."

She takes us into another room, which is filled with nearly two dozen floor to ceiling cloth works.

Each is the size of a tree trunk, and you feel like you are in the middle of a dark forest.

"This is an installation by Claudia Parducci, and it's titled 23 Columns. It's all hand woven and knitted," said Farrand. "It raises the idea of destruction, and creation."

Another room of the Thousand Oaks gallery is filled with different colors, as neon pieces attached to the walls cast a bright glow in the darkened area.

"This is Laddie John Dill. He's a wonderful neon artist, and if you stand a little further outside the room, you see the lines, the horizontal lines, and the vertical lines which are really basic to landscape," said Farrand.

There are other works ranging from videos, to mixed media projects from the six artists which reflect different aspects of contemporary interpretations of classic landscapes.

Landscape Through The Eyes of Abstraction runs through July 31 at the California Museum Of Art Thousand Oaks. The museum is located on the second floor of The Oaks Mall, in Thousand Oaks. It’s open Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is free, but donations are suggested.