Flower Pepper Gallery Presents: Being a Panda
Opening: Saturday, May 6th, 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Exhibition: May 6th - 31st, 2017
Amy Van Gilder, Cuddly Rigor Mortis, Emiko Woods, Jason Walker, Jeremiah Ketner, Kristian Adam, Laura Colors, Leila Ataya, Liten Kanin, Martin Hsu, Naoshi, Paul Barnes, Peter Hamlin, Po Yan Leung, Raul Pizarro, Roland Tamayo, Susanne Apgar, Valerie Pobjoy, Virginie Mazureau, Yetis & Friends, Zoe Williams
Special Window Installation by Amy Van Gilder
On Saturday, May 6th, Flower Pepper Gallery is pleased to present Being a Panda, a group exhibition featuring talented local and international artists. Keeping with a beloved tradition, this is the third Panda Bear themed exhibition Flower Pepper Gallery has hosted. These adorable cuddly creatures have captured the imagination for generations and have become a symbol for protecting our world and its most vulnerable species. In this exhibition, we see the very multi-faceted personality of the panda. Playful, lazy, adventurous, and cute, this special bear will take us on a visual journey to show us what Being a Panda is all about.
Participating artist Martin Hsu’s adorable piece for this show Kindreds - Panda and Bamboo, features two handmade resin figures that bring his stylized paintings to life. An elegant protective figure stands strongly against wind and snow to provide shelter for a much more vulnerable little panda. Despite what might seem like harsh conditions, the little panda bear looks on with confidence and bravery in the company of its noble guide. Martin’s philosophy for creating art is as beautiful as his work. “I sincerely hope my work brings you joy and some peace of mind.” This intent is definitely felt in this charming piece as it elicits feelings of comfort and contentment. Similarly, Kristian Adam’s piece Hoshiko captures a contemplative moment that is both peaceful and captivating. Often painting anthropomorphic animals, his characters reflect our own behaviors and habits back to us revealing the peculiarities that exist within human nature. It is Kristian’s desire to use his work to show us that mankind’s biological roots fundamentally connect us with nature and this piece is an exemplary example of that. Everything from this lovely panda’s name, meaning star, to the simple interaction with a delicate flower embodies all that can be gained when we slow down and connect with nature. Emiko Wood’s Little Dreamer - Seeing Ships, is inspired by the playful spirit of the panda. Emiko imagines that while munching their bamboo, they have daydreams of grand adventures. This little panda is imagining a great ship in the clouds that one day might take him to great faraway places. It’s a tribute to the dreamer in all of us and the discovery that awaits us across seas and shores.
On the other hand, Jason Walker’s hyper-realistic paintings observe humanities’ relationship with cultural icons and objects. He is an artist-anthropologist documenting the symbols of our collective unconscious that subtly reveal our values through the objects we cherish and delight in. In his extraordinary piece for this exhibition, Precious, he has chosen a painted ceramic panda sculpture with a bright green piece of bamboo. This object in all of its lustrous gleaming glory is something you might find in a curio shop as a totem meant to bring good luck. Set against a velvety crimson background, a known “good-luck” color in China where pandas originate, this painting centers our attention on our fascination with fortune, luck, and fate. This painting is as alluring as the principles it explores. It immediately captures the eye with its glint and glimmer and holds our gaze with its dewy perfection. The profound simplicity and high level of execution of Walker’s work allows us the opportunity to examine objects we might otherwise overlook and the part they play in our culture, beliefs, and understanding.
Alternatively, Cuddly Rigor Mortis’ painting Panda Island, is a delightful escape into a little world of lush green grass and fluffy clouds where we find an adorable panda tucked away safely in a sanctuary of bamboo. This delightful little panda is consistent with Cuddly Rigor Mortis’ profound ability to create masterfully rendered characters that are full of personality and charm. Likewise, Leila Ataya’s exquisite piece Tea Party for One is a magical world with decadent symbolism. The tea party’s solo attendee, an ethereal panda bear with jeweled butterfly wings lays idly perched in a branch with everything its heart could desire within arms reach. While a panda in reality could only dream of this royal setting, this whimsical panda’s apparent satisfaction captures the spirit of the panda. Content and at times a bit lethargic after a meal, this beautiful painting portrays some of the most endearing attributes of the panda.
This exhibition featuring one of the world’s most beloved animals explores the mythology and spirit of the panda bear that has delighted us for centuries. The cuddly creatures in this show, each with their own unique personalities, are sure to capture the hearts and imaginations of everyone who sees them and allow visitors to walk away with a better understanding of what Being a Panda really means.