“The Art of Us:” IvyWild serves up fine art along with fine food

by Rebecca Hannigan

IvyWild brings more to the table than just exquisite cuisine, as displayed at their art show on the evening of Sunday, November 17th. An impressive array of work was presented, ranging from hand-built furniture to ceramics and copper jewelry.

Each artist showed unique style, and the talent catered to many tastes and textures. Delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks were served, pleasing the palate with fresh lime salsa, tender beef sandwiches on warm buns, and sweet potato tarts. Every sense was satisfied, as excellent flavors paired exquisitely with visual modes of artistic work. Exceptional artistry circulated throughout the dining room, awakening creativity and exuding positive forms of expression.

Focusing on basic elements of plants and growth, artist Rachel Jenkins described her art as a way of “mentally and visually processing the joyful, good connection between humans and the earth.” Developing detailed depictions of seeds and plants, she creates colorful images with acrylics, watercolors, pen and marker. By painting plants she works with in the garden, she connects more deeply with them, capturing visually the growth that she herself fosters in the soil.

The “natural world” is a large influence in the work of Eileen Schaeffer as well, who displayed elegant drawings and creative envelope collages. The collages are composed of pictures pulled from magazines such as National Geographic. By creating compositions from the magazines’ interior images on the surface of her work, she crafts “a complete inversion of the closed book world, both figuratively and literally.” Also looking beyond books, philosophy professor and owner of Ivy Wild restaurant Andrew Moser displayed his hand-built furniture. His wooden table stood sturdily next to his wooden chair, a comfortable and cozy seat for sitting back and absorbing the atmosphere. Sitting atop the table was his “Megablox” lamp, built with bright neon plus-sized legos.

The lego lamp illuminated the hanging work of Austin Reavis, whose images “Botany” and “Tether” were at once simple and stunning. Using graphite and shifting to colored pencils, he represents a personal journey from stark emotions of “tension” to feelings which are more “light in touch” and “cerebral.” Similar emotions were evoked in the canvases, shirts, and ceramic bowls painted by Addison Willis. The rich colors of the raku ceramic bowls are brought out by copper during the firing process. Aside from bringing beauty to the plate, Willis creates wearable art, using fabric markers to paint designs on clothes. His acrylic paintings on canvas delve into feelings of synesthesia, mixing emotions between realms of tangibility and imagination, or “seeing what you can feel.”

Also bridging the barrier between physical and mental, Christina Ulibarri displayed crystal jewelry which offers healing properties. Her necklaces, rings, and bracelets promote healing and stronger health, made from crystal and copper. Copper’s inspiration coincides with her initials – CU, just like the periodic name for this craftable element. Mooney’s Market and Emporium sells her therapeutic jewelry, a thoughtful gift for a friend or relative.

The acrylic paintings of Kerry Gibson also evoke friendly feelings, as she says they “relate to scenes or objects which give me peace and joy.” They are a unique fusion of “antique” and “whimsical,” creating a comfortable atmosphere of warmth blending with energy and whimsical vitality.

The entire evening was full of joy and expression, celebrating the talented servers and cooks at Ivy Wild. Such stunning artistry can be easily overlooked in exchanges made in the dining room. Perhaps the next time you order, you should ask the server for a taste of their artistic expression along with your entree.

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