March 9, 2009

“Thousand Wishes” Artwork Explores Nature’s Perfection and its Tango with Humanity. [Photo Slideshow: Jellyfish, Paintings, Edo Salon, San Francisco]

The delicate dance between nature and humanity has fascinated artists since man began scrawling on cave walls, where even the act of creating artwork defaced the raw beauty of the stone. As society grows, this interaction is unavoidable, imperative, beautiful, and tragic. San Francisco artists Holly Ellis and Jessica Langella explore this thought-provoking theme in their current art exhibition, Thousand Wishes, at Edo Hair Salon and Art Gallery in the Lower Haight.

“Nature’s perfection has inspired and persevered through man’s imposition, permeating the chasms of culture, industry, and time…To this, Thousand Wishes is a dedication,” the artists’ assert, and their vision is compellingly executed with a combination of installation art, sculpture and paintings. Holly Ellis offers up striking impasto paintings of cityscapes filled with magical floating red jellyfish objects and small fiery explosions. Jessica Langella has turned the space into an underwater dream with delicate paper jellyfish, adorned with pearls and coral, cascading down from the heavens. Her dainty metal sculptural gardens enclosed in bell jars truly captured my heart, invoking imagery of coral reef and deep-sea treasures. Together, these two ladies blow kisses to the wind, and have created a stunning meditation on the beauty and enduring strength of nature, despite society’s footprint upon it.

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It was fun to talk with Holly and Jessica about their work…and they really couldn’t be sweeter or more genuine women. Both are artists in every aspect of their lives, and it is so wonderful to meet other artists who live and breathe artwork every day. Jessica is a hairstylist at Edo Salon who specializes in cutting edge hairstyles (no pun intended!), and Holly is an unbelievably talented tattoo artist and the owner of Idle Hand Tattoo Studio on Haight Street. (You MUST check out her portrait tattoos…so good!)

Jessica explained how her creation process is often spontaneous and in-the-moment, never quite knowing how metals will react, or how elements will come together. With bell jar #41, she was cutting off the ornate top of a doorknob to use in another piece, and was surprised when a metal ring popped out from the inside of the globe. So she welded that ring to the base of the doorknob to create a shell-like throne for an enormous piece of turquoise, and just like that, #41 was born! Being present and receptive to that unexpected inspiration is truly the key to being a mindful artist.

The opening reception was a blast, with a steady stream of hip and thoughtful art-goers filtering in and out all evening, keeping Edo abuzz with energy and laughter. I enjoyed the delicious white sangria and listened to the musical delights of Ramshackle Romeos, a duo playing bizarre renditions of classic tunes all night. Using a variety of instruments I have never seen before, but resembling things you would find in a hardware store, along with the typical guitar and xylophone accompaniment, they were charming and funny, if not a little teensy bit over-the-top.

It was a fantastic and inspiring evening. Artists Holly Ellis and Jessica Langella ask us to consider how nature can at once be fragile and indomitable, and unavoidably entangled with humanity. Good or bad, we cannot deny our role in this precarious tango. How can life and nature be so tricky?

Rachel Znerold is an artist and independent fashion designer living the good life in San Francisco, CA. www.rachelzart.com

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