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Industrial and natural landscapes by Kevin Gilligan, on view this weekend

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Torrance Refinery, Blocking the View. Photo by Kevin Gilligan

Smoke on the Water

Industrial parks and natural parks, together in photos

Although it predates most of the local residents who now object to its presence as a sort of Vesuvius in the making, the Torrance Oil Refinery (formerly the ExxonMobil Refinery) is increasingly at odds with the community that has grown up around it. Concerned, and taking note of this, photographer Kevin Gilligan has assembled an exhibition that pairs views of natural beauty with the starkness of local refineries in “Deliberations: Preservation, Avarice, Conservation.” The work is being shown for two days, this Saturday and Sunday, at the South Bay Art Department in Hermosa Beach.

Zion National Park. Photo by Kevin Gilligan

187, Carson Refinery. Photo by Kevin Gilligan

The show explores critical questions about where we find ourselves both as a nation and a South Bay community. Underlying this is the Trump administration’s interest in expanding oil drilling to sites currently considered off-limits or potentially hazardous to the environment.

Gilligan cites the barely-contained explosion at the Torrance facility in 2015, which could have spread deadly modified hydrofluoric acid throughout the Beach Cities, hence his images that seek to make viewers aware of the issues and of what’s at stake: their health and their lives.

Gilligan, a local resident and an avid fan of the outdoors (he has explored and photographed U.S. National Parks from Yosemite to Yellowstone), writes about what inspires and motivates him: “My visual perspective grew out of a love of the ocean, surfing and swimming. Growing up on New York’s Long Island Sound, I have a keen appreciation for beautiful water landscapes and portraits.”

Basketball Hoop, Manzanar. Photo by Kevin Gilligan

“Deliberations” also includes images that mark the 75th anniversary of Manzanar, the Japanese-American internment camp in California’s high desert. Other images consist of portraits of Hapas (half-Asian, half-Caucasian). These pairings, Gilligan notes, encourage us to reconsider our concepts of “the other” in this country, and how that definition alters over time.

Deliberations: Preservation, Avarice, Conservation is on view Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 to 5 p.m. at the South Bay Art Dept., 1075 Aviation Blvd., Hermosa Beach. On Saturday, craft beer and artisan chocolate will be served. (310) 379-5879. Gilligan’s work can also be viewed at his website: photosbykag.com. ER

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