Part One: Back to back exhibitions… “The Elephant in the Room”

Back to back exhibitions at ZIA Gallery celebrate the wonder of our natural world.01-20-2018 Postcard copyfb

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.”

Mary Burke, Natural Order, 36x48, Acrylic Graphite on Canvas

Mary Burke, Natural Order, 36×48, Acrylic Graphite on Canvas

More elephants appeared in a number of Fumiko Toda’s paintings as part of the magic of her world.

Fumiko Toda, "Expectation" 47x 39 Mixed media on canvas

Fumiko Toda, “Expectation” 47x 39 Mixed media on canvas

Then a sequin elephant served as a formative element in a collage and mixed media miniature “Elephant Notes” by Anne Hughes.

Anne Hughes, "Elephant Notes" 5" x 5" pastel, sequin, acrylic, found object

Anne Hughes, “Elephant Notes” 5″ x 5″ pastel, sequin, acrylic, found object

Elephants are clearly on the minds of artists.

Anne Hughes, "Of the Garden" 5" x 5" soft pastel

Anne Hughes, “Of the Garden” 5″ x 5″ soft pastel

“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.

Mary Burke, "Never Too Many" 21x21 Acrylic, crayon and other on paper

Mary Burke, “Never Too Many” 21×21 Acrylic, crayon and other on paper

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.

Brian McDonald, "Box Office Beasts" Mixed media painting and collage on paper 25" x 21"

Brian McDonald, “Box Office Beasts” Mixed media painting and collage on paper 25″ x 21″

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.

Preston Jackson, "African Profile" 36 x 48 Acrylic on Canvas

Preston Jackson, “African Profile” 36 x 48 Acrylic on Canvas

ZIA Gallery is pleased that Preston accepted the invitation to participate. His work contributes another direction of emotive, elephant-inspired artwork.

Preston Jackson's Say Goodbye, 60 x 48, Acrylic on canvas

Preston Jackson’s Say Goodbye, 60 x 48, Acrylic on canvas

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.

Jonathan Ricci, "Elephant and the Moon" 18 x 24 Acrylic and collage

Jonathan Ricci, “Elephant and the Moon” 18 x 24 Acrylic and collage

Rhythmic pattern and color combinations enhance the impulse to relish in spontaneity.

Jonathan Ricci, "Elephant Summit" 18" x 24" Acrylic and Collage on canvas

Jonathan Ricci, “Elephant Summit” 18″ x 24″ Acrylic and Collage on canvas

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.

Jonathan Ricci, "Elephant C" 26 1/8 x 28, Acrylic and Collage

Jonathan Ricci, “Elephant C” 26 1/8 x 28, Acrylic and Collage

Bob Krist, "Elephant Terraces" 20 x 30 Infrared Photography

Bob Krist, “Elephant Terraces” 20 x 30 Infrared Photography

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.

Anne Hughes "Elephant Dreams" Soft pastel, cut paper, acrylic, 26" x 28.5"

Anne Hughes “Elephant Dreams” Soft pastel, cut paper, acrylic, 26″ x 28.5″

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.

Fumiko Toda "Meet Again" 30 x 22, etchings and chine collé

Fumiko Toda “Meet Again” 30 x 22, etchings and chine collé

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!

"The Floral Show" (not what you expect!) runs Saturday March 3 - Saturday, April 7, 2017.

“The Floral Show” (not what you expect!) runs Saturday March 3 – Saturday, April 7, 2018 at ZIA Gallery.

The Inventive Expression of Jacqueline Baerwald by Shannon Gallagher

Jacqueline Baerwald describes herself mostly as a painter, but her body of work encompasses a variety of genres, including mixed media, assemblage, and sculpture. Her current work combines painting, found objects, and poetry.

Jacqueline Baerwald's "Give Them Wings" Acrylic on Books

Jacqueline Baerwald’s “Give Them Wings” Acrylic on Books

The ‘My Melondy: Issues of Adolescence’ series is conceptual, featuring the recurring image of a young girl painted on stacks of found books. The books, which are entirely thrifted, found, or gifted from friends, are carefully curated and arranged so that the titles form a found poem, which ultimately becomes an integral part of the piece.

Jacqueline Baerwald's "What Little Girls Are Made Of" 48.5 x 48.5 x 3 Acrylic on Books

Jacqueline Baerwald’s “What Little Girls Are Made Of” 48.5 x 48.5 x 3 Acrylic on Books

The work explores the issues faced by young women today, including body image, abuse, and the effects of family dissolution. “The work isn’t based on my life as much as a handful of close girlfriends who experienced rather massive trauma in their lives. The darker paintings of the Melondy series, well… I can attach a name or several names to each one of them,” she explained.

"Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Melondy is this sort of cartoonish character I created. I started painting her in 2011, and for a long time, I really only associated her with the average teenage girl… I only personally related to her here and there,” she said. “It’s strange, because I used to feel very different from her, but now I’m realizing that she embodies a lot about myself.”

"All That Glitters" Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“All That Glitters” Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

Baerwald has enjoyed seeing how viewers relate to the work. “The work reflects a lot of pain,” she said, “but also hope- the idea that this isn’t the end of it.” I don’t know how comfortable I am with the word ‘activist,’ but the work is meant to instigate some sort of change. I don’t want to tell the viewer what that change is, but instead inspire them; to start a thinking process in their minds. I want art to be beautiful and interesting in technique, but also to make me stop and think about life, other people’s lives, the impact I have, and what I can do to make this world a better place, even in my small sphere of influence. At the core, that is what I’m trying to do with the ‘Melondy’ series.”

"Rock, Paper..." Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Rock, Paper…” Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

Prior to this series, the artist had been painting in a more realistic manner. “I want children and young people to enjoy the work as much as adults. This is the first time I’d tried something more cartoon-like, more whimsical. It’s been an interesting detour to go down this road, and [the work] seems to resonate with a lot of people,” she said. “The concept and symbolism- the ideas that I am going to convey through the imagery come first.

"You Are My Sunshine" Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“You Are My Sunshine” Acrylic on Books by Jacqueline Baerwald

The work uses this cute little character that people fall in love with to address issues that they don’t want to talk about. But she draws you in, and you want to love her, and you think about how she’s experiencing a lot of pain, and decide, ‘Let’s stop brushing this under the rug.’”

"Birds of a Feather" Acrylic on books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Birds of a Feather” Acrylic on books by Jacqueline Baerwald

Baerwald has no shortage of concepts for new work. “I have a long log of ideas. If I had more time, I’d paint all of them. I do a lot of reading on all sorts of subjects, and I have a huge interest in the human condition. I end up reading a lot of things that have scientific or religious components to them, looking at different worldviews, various societal issues and mindsets. Ultimately,” she said, “my work distills more about what is going on in the active mind, how we can monitor our own thinking, and how our actions follow.”

"Sealed Lips" Acrylic on books by Jacqueline Baerwald

“Sealed Lips” Acrylic on books by Jacqueline Baerwald

Jacqueline Baerwald’s work currently can be seen at ZIA Gallery.