The next exhibition at the City of Ojai Gallery at City Hall is a wonderful pairing of two accomplished Ojai artists, who celebrate natural forms and the peace to be found in contemplating nature. Both photographer, Deborah Lyon, and Andrea Haffner, a mixed media artist and jeweler, who works in resin, metal and forms from nature, have a quiet, meditative quality to their work. Objects are isolated and presented almost reverentially. This is the art of solace and tranquility, exquisitely presented for us to ponder.
Deborah Lyon is a photographer in the minimalist style and a member of Ojai Studio Artists. She is celebrated for her insightful portraiture and delicate nature photography. Her work is exquisite in its execution; it emphasizes the beauty in Nature and is imbued with an otherworldly quality that seeks to explore the unknowables of life; the mysteries of creation and of purpose. The delicacy of her work invites us to be still, to move inward, and to contemplate. Symbolism features heavily in Lyon’s thoughtful work and the careful viewer may discern hints of Eastern philosophy in her approach. Plants, especially, represent for her a potent metaphor for the human emotional landscape.
Plants and plant forms, including seeds and stems, also figure heavily in the striking work of Andrea Haffner, a mixed media artist and also a member of Ojai Studio Artists. She deconstructs plants into their constituent parts to be presented as art objects, compelling us to look at the astonishing and multifarious ways in which Nature marries form and function. Each art piece, a small wonder in its own right, is hermetically sealed in resin and steel, wood, or silver, and back-lit with jewel-like colors. When arranged as part of a collection, the pieces speak both to individuality and diversity in Nature, with implications, should we wish to explore them, for human comparison. Haffner’s work shows in galleries and fine art shops across the country, including the Human Arts Gallery, here in Ojai.
The artistic containment of the particular in both these artists works, be it compositionally framed as an isolate, or sealed off from its surrounds in resin, presents the natural forms within as precious; treasure to be venerated, the best part being that this treasure is available to us every day out in the world, if we care to look. The therapeutic nature of closely observing the delicate edges of Nature is important to – and comes naturally to – both artists. Lyon and Haffner encourage us to look more closely at Nature in our everyday lives. They show us the powerful potential for everyday wonder and meditation and, in our noisy world that competes for our attention in a thousand ways a day, that is solace indeed.
The Lyon-Haffner exhibition will be hung in two locations on March 14th: Ojai City Hall, 401 S Ventura St, and the Ojai Museum,130 W. Ojai Ave, with a public reception March 19th, 6:30pm at City Hall. Light refreshments will be served, and the artists will be on hand to answer questions. All are invited to attend this celebration of some of the best of Ojai art in our very own City Hall. For more information, visit the City of Ojai Arts Commission website at www.artsojai.org or the Ojai Studio Artists page at www.ojaistudioartists.org. To explore each artists’ work further visit www.lyonimages.com and www.andreahaffner.com