Back to back exhibitions at ZIA Gallery celebrate the wonder of our natural world. Guest artist Preston Jackson, especially noted as a sculptor, contributed his passionate paintings of elephants in ZIA Gallery’s current exhibition The Elephant in the Room. The exhibition 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 Mary Burke, Anne Hughes and Fumiko Toda.
The Floral Show follows, opening March 3rd, including beautifully executed artworks by guest artist Phil Ponce who takes inspiration from the traditional Mexican folk art technique of papel picado. To create his interconnected labyrinths of nature, Phil replaces tissue paper with durable black tyvek.
In a jaded era, The Floral Show suggests 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. Naturalist scientist and essayist Loren Eiseley brings this appreciation to life in his essay “How Flowers Changed the World.” Visual artists, too, through flourishing creativity, re-energize the words “floral show” as can be seen through the unexpected universes of Mary Burke, Melissa Jay Craig, Lisa A. Frank, Karina Noel Hean, Anne Hughes, Ted Preuss, Jonathan Ricci, Fumiko Toda, John Vlahakis, Carl Wilen and invited artists Kevin Veara and Phil Ponce. Visit the gallery Tuesday through Saturday, 10 – 5pm and by appointment.