“The Earth is our commonality, our home, and is what grounds us. The Sky is our celestial dome reaching outward, above us kissing the Earth below.” –Donna Geist Buch
Topanga Canyon Gallery’s newest show, “Earth and Sky,” explores our relationship to nature, our terra firma, the celestial wonder above and the spaces in between. The four artists in this exhibit tell stories using their artistic focus to explore our world and it’s ever changing environment.
Jonna Gill started her art career studying several disciplines at the fine art schools of New York City, including the Parsons School of design, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and the Art Students League of New York. Her many talents include silversmithing and a classic line of jewelry, couture design, painting, and photography. With a recent move to California, Gill strives artistically to blur the lines of preconceived reality, challenging one to consider the existence of what was not perceivable prior. With her jewelry work, she delights in mixing the bounteous elements of the earth, metals, and gemstones, to bring healing energy and joy to the wearer.
Artist and musician Donna Geist Buch has created pieces that hover between representation and abstraction. Self-taught at an early age, Buch studied at Otis College of Art and Design in L.A. She uses mixed media to enhance and explore the coexisting tension or serenity of earth and sky. Her goal was to find the relationship and balance between art and the environment in an effort to arouse the awareness of individuals of the world around us.
Her paintings for this series are acrylic, mixed media, which includes textured mediums, different types of water-based paints, with the addition of inks, charcoal pencil, pastels, or an undercoating of leafing (gold or silver). This body of work is painted on canvas or wood panels. She is also showing some assemblages created with paint, paper, texture mediums, found objects, both man-made as well as naturally occurring elements.
“The earth and sky are tangible references in time and I wanted to capture that. I find that there is nothing more beautiful and inspiring than nature, even in its most harsh of times.” Buch sees the expressions of nature. “Nature has expression just like humans do; I wanted to capture that expression by utilizing the dramatic differences of night and day, playing with the dramatic effects of light affecting the earth and sky. When I explore a subject that intrigues me, I think through it and feel it emotionally, adding layers as if I were an architect building my drawn-up plans.”
Connie Cambardella’s photography connects us to the daily rhythms of life, nature, music, and lifestyle. Her pictures transport the viewer with every beat, movement, and the splendor of beauty that surrounds us. Her wish is to bring the beauty of this world from her lens to share with you. “My goal is for the pictures to evoke emotion and awaken your senses so that the viewer feels one with nature. I truly dig deep to what inspires me from within. There is usually a very fine line from what I see, to how I feel inside my heart.”
Mixed media artist Moises Mendoza explores the possibilities of surfaces and textures in his collages of still life and landscape imagery. Although nature is his main inspiration, he tries to push the forms and shapes found there, cut them up and remix them, so to speak, into something more stylized and abstract to create a unique new vision.
“In school I was practicing to become an illustrator. I drew with pencil and ink mostly, but I had started to feel restricted in both subject and medium. My laundry list of disparate influences—Hockney, Matisse, Condo, Bacon, Twombly, Schiele—spurred me to try new and experimental things. By the time I left school I had developed my own personal style and the ability to express myself visually in a way I couldn’t before. I still try to build upon this style, always looking for the next bit of inspiration to evolve in an exciting way.”
Mendoza is a graduate of ArtCenter College of Art and Design. Although he is one of the youngest artists at Topanga Canyon Gallery, his skill, precision, and dedication to his craft make his art a formidable presence in this show.
Because of the artists’ love for the environment, wildlife, and nature, a percentage of all sales will be donated to the California Wildlife Center, a non-profit organization that takes responsibility for the protection of native wildlife through rehabilitation, education, and conservation. It is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of native California species, that otherwise would be left to suffer from the effects of human encroachment, habitat destruction and environmental damage.
The exhibit runs through September 30, with an Artists’ Reception on September 8, 5-8 p.m. Gallery hours are Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday 12-8 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Topanga Canyon Gallery is located at 120 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., in Pine Tree Circle. For information: topangacanyongallery.com.