Coming soon to Santa Ana College’s Main Gallery on campus is the abstract water-centered art of Danielle Eubank, who has spent the last 20 years traveling across the world with the goal of eventually visiting all five of Earth’s oceans. Sailing over 250 bodies of water, Eubank has familiarized herself well with water and is passionate about protecting the element that makes up most of Earth’s surface.

Eubank’s exhibition, titled “One Artist Five Oceans,” consists of a series of large-scale paintings inspired by oceans in different areas of the world, with such differences reflecting in the various shapes, colors and hues used in her art. Growing up in California, Eubank always felt closely connected with water, and found it an interesting subject to try to materialize through art, seeing as it takes form in many ways. Although she was always fascinated by water, Eubank had a longtime hesitance of drawing it because of how its appearance is always fluctuating.

“I also wanted to create water that was in my own voice, because I had never really seen images of water that I could relate to,” said Eubank on her beginnings in painting the element.

Eubank began painting water in 2001 while on a trip with friends in Ronda, Spain, following a cycling accident which left her unable to walk well. Convalescing in a fishing village in Asturias for two months after her accident, Eubank spent most days down at the dock and began experimenting with painting water the way she had always wanted to.

For the next 20 years, Eubank embarked on several oceanic expeditions that took her around Indonesia, Ghana, the High Arctic and most recently, Antarctica. Throughout it all, she has been motivated to raise more awareness of climate change and protecting our oceans.

According to UNESCO, there are up to 500 dead zones (parts of the ocean in which marine life cannot survive) that cover around 153,000 miles of the world’s oceans. By painting abstract images of water and our oceans, she hopes that it gets more people to pay attention to what’s most abundant in our world, but what’s also most at risk. 

“You can’t get everyone to go to the ocean, but you can bring the ocean to them,” Eubank said.

“Southern Ocean XIX” by Danielle Eubank. This is Eubank’s personal favorite painting in the exhibition because she believes it gives viewers a look into the state of the cold Antarctic Ocean. Credit: Image courtesy of Danielle Eubank

Eubank’s series of ocean paintings reflect water in its many shapes and forms. She also uses a wide variety of colors rather than just blue, such as orange, red and purple. Her favorite painting is “Southern Ocean XIX,” a 42-inch by 116-inch oil on linen, in which she contrasts blues and blacks in the form of a grand arc, taking up the viewer’s peripheral vision. Others such as “Southern Ocean XX” use colors such as orange and hues of black to show the flow of the ocean. 

Compared to other ocean artists such as Vija Celmins and Winslow Homer who practiced photorealism and realism, respectively, in their drawings and paintings, Eubank likes to play around with both abstraction and realism. However, she adds that recently her color choices have been more abstract, coming more from her head and less faithful to nature.

Santa Ana College gallery director, Phillip Marquez is thrilled to welcome Eubank’s landmark collection of paintings to the community. Marquez hopes that through this exhibition, people are able to see and learn about the impact humans are having on the oceans, resulting in climate change. 

Marquez oversees the college’s main on-campus gallery as well as its two gallery spaces inside the Santora Building, located in downtown Santa Ana’s Artist Village. In selecting shows for SAC’s Main Gallery, Marquez aims for art that is also educational for students who may stroll in on their break from classes.

“It’s a good opportunity for students to learn as it’s going to highlight global warming, and my main agenda is to teach students,” Marquez said.

“Southern Ocean XX” by Danielle Eubank showcases how she plays around with unnatural ocean colors. Credit: Image courtesy of Danielle Eubank

Along with viewing Eubank’s paintings in the exhibition, Marquez’s gallery students have written informative texts for each of the five oceans for further context. There will also be a global map highlighting the several oceans addressed in the paintings, providing factual information as well as details about Eubank’s voyages.

Along with her paintings, Eubank expresses her concerns over water issues through various public workshops, teaching and consulting. 

“One Artist Five Oceans” will be on display in the Main Gallery on campus at Santa Ana College through April 7. Eubank will give an artist’s talk this Saturday, Feb. 12 from 2-3 p.m., followed by the exhibition’s opening reception from 3-5 p.m.

Crystal Henriquez is a contributing for Arts & Culture at Voice of OC. She can be reached at crystalh774@gmail.com.


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