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The Wonder Room by CHRISTINA DY
July 11, 6-9PM
FLORA has always inspired a particular fascination for the artist Christina Dy, and friends who know of this have often asked why she hasn’t ventured into drawing landscapes. “I like flowers but flowers that are black,” she says, “withered flowers, flowers that are not in a garden or potted. I just figured out I like dead things.” Dead things, after all, easily evoke mystery, the suggestion of a life already lived and therefore storied. But CD, the initials by which she is known to the art world, is less interested in extracting narratives from the dead than in bringing the dead back to life. Which she does, with a whimsical but sure-handed elegance, in her new show opening this July at Silverlens Gallery called “The Wonder Room,” a title inspired by Germany’s wunderkammers, or cabinets of curiosities, treasure troves of art, antiquities, historical relics, taxidermied animals and various life-less ephemera.
For this new collection of works, the artist has decided to take on the roles of lepidopterist and taxidermist—albeit in less gory circumstances—employing dead birds and butterflies as subjects, preserving their past existences through her beautiful drawings, and having them take on a slightly reinvented form by folding them in the origami style. “Drawing is static,” says CD, “once it’s framed it’s done. I've always liked drawing wallpaper patterns—florals, butterflies. But recently, I wanted to turn drawing, which is essentially 2D, into something 3D.” Which has also brought the artist to kaleidoscopes. In the same show, CD deconstructed flowers—irises and roses—by drawing them in parts on translucent paper. Making use of her keen interest in mathematics, tessellation and repeating images, she then arranged these parts inside a kaleidoscope which then reconstructs the image of the flower on every rotation. “You never get the same image twice. The drawings become sort of alive.”
Unlike the image a wunderkammer evokes, there is nothing so macabre or darkly haunted in CD’s wonder room, even as it remains true to the spirit of the patron playing God, creating his or her own controlled, microscopic version of the world. Broken flowers and dead birds may have been the takeoff point, but this show has evolved to a looking forward to what’s ahead. “I found myself getting bored with drawing in the beginning, but I think the rest of the year will be about exploring new ways on where to take it.” In the process of investing new life to the lifeless, Christina Dy looks like she has resuscitated, too, her interest in the medium she is most known for.
Text by Jerome Gomez
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