The exhibition “The Elephant in the Room” was conceived slowly over the past few years as ZIA Gallery began to notice a number of artists making reference to elephants in their works. One of the first artists was Mary Burke who subtly included a phrase along with a small sketch in her abstract painting “Natural Order.”
More elephants appeared in a number of Fumiko Toda’s paintings as part of the magic of her world.
Then a sequin elephant served as a formative element in a collage and mixed media miniature “Elephant Notes” by Anne Hughes.
Elephants are clearly on the minds of artists.
“The Elephant in the Room” opened January 20th with contributions by Brian McDonald, Preston Jackson, Jonathan Ricci, Bob Krist; in addition to more works by Mary Burke, Anne Hughes and Fumiko Toda.
In his “Box Office Beasts” Brian McDonald layers color and text referencing graffiti, pop and painterly abstraction while reflecting a thought-provoking, human-centric focus even as other animals are invoked. Brian peppers his work with often, overlooked details.
As the exhibition neared, it came to ZIA’s attention that noted Chicago sculptor Preston Jackson also created passionate and wonderfully expressive paintings of elephants.
ZIA Gallery is pleased that Preston accepted the invitation to participate. His work contributes another direction of emotive, elephant-inspired artwork.
Over the past number of years Jonathan Ricci has developed a colorful body of mixed media paintings with collaged elements cut from maps and dressmakers patterns. Often birds arise in his works adding to interpretations suggesting freedom, travel and exploration.
Rhythmic pattern and color combinations enhance the impulse to relish in spontaneity.
Jonathan’s expressive tendencies spill, with ease, into paintings where elephants seamlessly join the mix, appearing at once regal and playful, and always journeying on.
Through infrared photography Bob Krist captures a sense of mystery and a silent awe-inspiring curiosity surrounding stone remains of Elephant Terraces containing hints of detailed carvings crumbling over time and obscured by moss. In an area adjoining Angkor Wat, in Cambodia, the thousand-foot-long Elephant Terrace served as the base of Khmer king’s audience pavilions and reviewing stands.
Fascination for the elephant transcends time.
While “The Elephant in the Room” is leaving, for now, a new exhibition arrives March 3, 2018: The Floral Show (not what you expect!). Invited artists Kevin Veara and Phil Ponce join ZIA Gallery artists.
More on this exhibition coming up in Part II. Meanwhile, ponder how it can be – that in this era, “The Floral Show” can suggest something so seemingly common and staid, we no longer grasp the amazing transformation of a world that specifically resulted from the evolution of flowering plants!? See you at The Floral Show, March 3 – April 7, 2018, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 – 5 PM and by appointment, ZIA Gallery, 548 Chestnut St., Winnetka, IL, 60093. The artworks will re-energize words, minds and spirits!