Kevin Sloan: Collection of Rarities

November 8, 2018 to February 17, 2019

Welcome to CMATO’s inaugural exhibition at our new home at The Oaks. Step away from your everyday routine and venture into the mysterious Collection of Rarities created by American contemporary surrealist painter, Kevin Sloan. This exhibition, curated by CMATO’s Senior Curator, Lynn Farrand and Tish Greenwood, Executive Director is dedicated to the Conejo Valley region.

Jungleland, once a tremendously popular animal theme park in Southern California, meant that the early residents of Thousand Oaks had the opportunity to live closely with elephants, turtles, swans, camels, tigers, lions and many more animals from the wild kingdom. Now 50 years since Jungleland closed its facilities, CMATO brings a collection of wildlife back to our community - albeit only in our imagination And now, thanks to Kevin Sloan’s use of ‘allegorical realism’, an empathetic message of conservation and coexistence is an important element of our understanding of the natural world that surrounds us.

Dedicating this exhibition to the region also meant connecting with local artists to complement Sloan’s enigmatic Collection of Rarities. Local poets present powerful, often intimate, voices to Sloan’s subjects throughout the exhibition. Local artist, Karen Payton, brings Sloan’s symbols and patterns closer to us with her interactive installation, Forest of Wishes. And local educator, Laura PG Lewis and Brooke Sauer, with our talented intern, Julianna Heller, have developed self-guided art educational materials to engage with Sloan’s large scale paintings. As you will soon discover, the exhibition is a delight for the entire family.

CMATO believes that art is an important ingredient in the social fabric of the community.Now located in the heart of the Oaks mall, we are excited to extend our presence to new audiences.

Our museum is a place where ideas are shared and people connect. Be connected and take part in our journey to become a premier art museum in the region.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by:

  • Larry Janss
  • Tony and Jennifer Principe
  • Shawn and Letal Skelton
  • Mark Sands MDS Construction
  • Rick and Suzanne Principe
  • Signature Signs
  • Thor Electric
  • Mission Bank
  • CMATO Council


Kevin Sloan is a Denver based painter whose work is characterized by a deep reverence for the natural world.

Sloan’s allegorical realism, a term he has coined to refer to his use of objects and environments that are painted in a realistic way but because of the inclusion of unexpected elements, the narrative in the work takes on an allegorical quality.

His work is found in numerous private and public collections worldwide including the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Phoenix Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, Tampa Museum of Art and the Tucson Museum of Art.

Exhibition Essays

Nancy-Jean Pément on Collection of Rarities

Over the past several months, this collective effort has relied upon the generosity of the artistic spirit, and a recognition of the important themes explored in Kevin Sloan’s paintings to create what critic, Carmine Starnino calls the “perfected expression of a sensibility in language.”

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Poetry Inspired by Collection of Rarities

Poetry written by local poets in response to Kevin Sloan’s work. The poets include Steve Braff, Jennifer Kelley, Marsha de la O, Friday Gretchen, Fernando Albert Salinas and Nancy-Jean Pément.

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What is surrealism?

What paintings in this collection feature unexpected combinations that seem like something out of a dream?

Surrealism is an art and literature movement that began in the 1920’s that valued imagination above logic- producing unexpected, poetic, and sometimes absurd results. Surrealism uses symbolism to convey meaning. A symbol is a picture that represents an idea. Symbolism can also be the combination of unexpected things, for example, what does it mean to have an elephant balancing on a china tea post in the middle of a meadow?


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