curated by Betty Ann Brown, Art Historian
The Loft at Liz’s
453 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
May 11-June 18, 2019
Shinrin-yoku or Forest Bathing is a healing practice that was developed in Japan in the 1980s. The premise is that mindful experiences in nature, especially deep in the woods, can lead to reduced stress, increased energy, and accelerated recovery from illness or surgery. This exhibition seeks to transform the gallery into an art forest, populated by painted, drawn, sculpted and photographed trees. Our hope is that the simulated aesthetic trees will calm and invigorate viewers, much like the experience of actual nature. (Perhaps we should call the exhibition “Art Bathing”!)
Many of the seventeen artists in the exhibition are painters. Bibi Davidson creates brilliant trees spiraling through a surreal atmosphere. Renee Fox has painted a tree mural on the stairwell, and augmented it with related drawings. Hermine Harman presents gold leaf trees on red glitter backgrounds, their sensuous branches morphing into serpents. Linda Vallejo creates portraits of the oaks that surround her Topanga Canyon home. Hung Viet Nguyen’s “Ancient Pines” present the apparently deadened trunks of old trees, with new growth bursting hopefully out of them. Jill Sykes abstracts limbs and leaves into subtle yet elegant patterns.
Some of the artworks are drawing based. Catherine Ruane’s immense and intensely realistic “Memory Tree” is a graphite drawing. Joanne Julian’s depiction of a ginko tree is another exquisitely crafted drawing using ink and Prismacolor pencil. Maria Greenshields-Ziman’s “Petrified Tree” is a mixed media rendering incorporating markers, oil pastels, and other drawing materials. Marthe Aponte, who has several works in the Projects Room, also works in mixed media. Aponte’s “Sacred Trees” images engage drawing, painting and embroidery as well as her signature picote (a traditional French folk art involving holes pierced into the surface of the paper.)
Other artworks are sculptural. Chenhung Chen has built a three-dimensional tree from electrical cords and metallic wires. Susan Feldman collaborates Dave Lovejoy to build trees from recycled wood and thread. Samuelle Richardson has sculpted a ghostly tree occupied by a murder of fabric crows. Barbara Edelstein pairs a poetic video of the forest with a single bare branch that dangles in front of it, casting evocative shadows on the projected images.
Still other artworks are photographic. Sant Khalsa sandwiches black and white images of trees between thin panels of wood and leans them against the gallery wall. Photographer Alberto Mesirca has produced a large series of color photographs of individual trees.
Forest Bathing was curated by art historian Betty Ann Brown in collaboration with gallery owner Liz Gordon.
Artists included: Martha Aponte, Chenhung Chen, Bibi Davidson, Barbara Edelstein, Susan Feldman & Dave LoveJoy, Renee Fox, Maria Greenshields-Ziman, Hermine Harman, Joanne Julian, Sant Khalsa, Alberto Mesirca, Hung Viet Nguyen, Samuelle Richardson, Catherine Ruane, Jill Sykes, Linda Vallejo