"See The Stars" @ Flower Pepper Gallery


  • Flower Pepper Gallery 121 East Union Street Pasadena, CA, 91103 United States

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Opening: Saturday, September 17th, 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Exhibition: September 17th - October 11th, 2016

Participating Artists:
Audrey Pongracz, Jaclyn Alderete, Jel Ena, Mandy Cao, Valerie Pobjoy

Special Window Installations by Amy Van Gilder

On Saturday, September 17th, Flower Pepper Gallery is pleased to present, See The Stars, featuring Audrey Pongracz, Jaclyn Alderete, Jel Ena, Mandy Cao, and Valerie Pobjoy. All of these talented artists are effortlessly able to paint light and hope into seemingly somber situations. Yet, they know it is not enough to simply mask darkness, or cover it up with a guise that everything is perfectly all right. Their work allows us to contemplate the journeys’ of their muses, and examine the tension that lies between melancholia and hope. For most people in the world, this has been a truly challenging time, and through their work, these artists are reminding us that, “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Each painting by Audrey Pongracz is rich with symbolism and emotion that is all at once vaguely hidden and brazenly laid bare. These layers within her work add a sense of fascination and intrigue that can be found simply by looking for them. “I believe art should be attainable to everyone… I love when I can look at a painting and be entranced by it, in awe of its application or just the wonder of it.” In each painting we see this gracious philosophy combined with a quiet mythology possessed by each of her heroines that inspires us to look deeper. Similarly, Los Angeles based artist, Jel Ena’s subjects are brought to life with an alluring aura of wonder that captures the relationship between light and shadow. “Her darkly erotic visualizations are enchanting, projecting characters with feminine mystique of epic proportions” (Juxtapoz.com). Her work for this exhibition is no exception. There is strength in the way her characters thrive in a darkness that doesn’t consume them.

Participating artist, Jaclyn Alderete, also uses light and color to reveal the emotions of her subjects as they merge with their dream-like surroundings. While there is immense confidence in her brushstrokes, there is fragility in each piece that allows us to empathize with the humanity and complexity of those captured in her work. Her painting method harkens back to the old masters but she has gone a step further by infusing a spectrum of emotion with surreal depictions of nature that show us the powerful resilience of human spirit in the midst of shortcomings along the way. In a similar way, Valerie Pobjoy has taken techniques inspired from the Dutch masters and French Modernists and has made them her own. Her rich color palate is striking against the velvety shadows with scenes from her everyday life, while her intimate portraits and street scenes show us the beauty of what we might otherwise over-look. From stormy days to sub-culture nightlife, her world is documented and preserved with such care that it inspires us to look at our own life and discover the hidden moments which deserve recognition.

Likewise, Mandy Cao draws from real stories and emotions that inspire her compelling paintings. Each piece eloquently captures a tender moment of heartache, discovery or hope. The figures she depicts are all of us, feeling emotions we have all felt which makes her work immediately relatable and irresistibly honest. Her illustrative surreal-style is united with painterly abstract backgrounds that add to the feeling that these scenes take place somewhere deeply internal. Her work makes a striking impression in an instant and creates a lasting conversation with the passing of time.

All of the participating artists in this exhibition celebrate the idea that beauty is found in unexpected places. Sometimes we must venture into the obscurity of night and experience darkness that appears all consuming before we can see glimmers of light pierce the sky, and we are reminded, once again, that hope can never be eclipsed so long as we are still able to See The Stars.

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