1st Thursday, February 7th, 5 to 8 PM
As a child in post-World War II Poland, Alicia Mannix began painting and drawing as soon she could hold a crayon. A Jewish child in a small Polish town, she would often sneak into the town`s magnificent Gothic church and spend hours gazing at the colorful stained glass windows, paintings and sculptures when no one was around. In then anti-Semitic Poland, being spotted in a church would create an controversy among Alicia`s friends and neighbors. Some would grin with a sense of victory, commenting how she finally was coming to her senses by trying to become a Catholic. Others would curse and spit in her direction as though seeing a devil. Nevertheless, the works of provincial Medieval religious art were Alicia's first influence on her color palette - bright and bold.
Mannix came to America in 1969 at the age of 16 and she and her family settled in Baltimore. While studying art at University of Maryland, College Park, she impressed her teachers with the richness of her drawings and paintings and was encouraged to become a professional artist. After graduating from Maryland in 1975, she went on to study Liberal Arts at the Johns Hopkins University immersing herself in books and writing rather than paints and brushes.
Mannix returned to painting in 1998 with an almost non-stop exploration of dozens of styles and techniques. Viewers would be confused, thinking that several artists were involved, only to find that it was Alicia "going wild" in all artistic directions. And this is when her self-coined style "Doodlism" was born. She would embark on a creative journey with every piece by letting her subconscious do all the work while trying to turn off the rational mind and allow the hands to follow this mysterious process which always began with mindless doodling. "While doodling, one forgets the pressure of producing something good," said Alicia. She claims that creativity is often squashed by trying too hard to come up with a product, rather than letting the process guide the results. Her doodles would often create unintended images which she would define and refine.
Mannix is writing a book on the subject, with the premise that any one can be an artist by following this simple technique. She has recently moved to Santa Barbara from Ashland, Oregon. The Book Den will show an eclectic collection of Mannix`s works beginning with the First Thursday in February.