Interconexión
Oneness in All Things: works by Gaia Schilke

The current body of work by Gaia Schilke, a visual artist all her life, grew out of her desire to follow a new direction, whatever that might be, with no preconceived notion about how to express her vision. Having moved to SMA 1.5 years ago and having spent the past 10 years working in the medium of cut & paste paper collage, Schilke decided to surrender to "full play" and allow herself to discover what emerged: Bomba/Tranquilo is the expression of the abundant natural beauty she witnessed during recent travels and of what she continues to learn about the interconnectedness of all things.

Schilke lived in Costa Rica for 3 years before moving to SMA and traveled extensively around that richly bio-diverse country, as well as Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, and now Mexico. She has immersed herself in the vibrant nature and culture of Latin America, and those images now flow through her current work.

The connection between all things: the ocean, the mountains, the jungle, the birds and flowers, the vivid colors, appears in her work, as does "the city" that is an integral part of her being. The displaced humanity, the starving polar bears, the floods and fires and earthquakes and volcanoes, are a natural response to the ongoing abuse of our planet. So Mother Nature is here too, sometimes represented by repeated vaginal symbols or as a naked woman. There is also the reoccurring swimmer that represents the artist, swimming upstream through the beauty and through the potential loss of beauty.

The artist considers herself an expressionist and this body of work as pop-expressionism. Two of her favorite artists were very much in her mind as she created Bomba/Tranquilo, the painters Jean Michael Basquiat and Elizabeth Murray, whose bold, playful and evocative work inspires and gives her courage. New York City graffiti has been another big influence, as Schilke wants her oil pastels to feel splashed on a wall.

The original collages also included in this show were created between 2006 and 2016, cut and pasted paper that are intricately layered with a reoccurring imagery of masks, cities, patterns in nature, religious iconography and inverted landscapes. Here, too, Schilke follows the invisible thread of connectedness, in a world where disconnection is a constant threat.

As part of this exhibition are two new works, "The Egyptian / Mexicano / Gringa Libro de los Muertos", inspired by the hieroglyphics of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. These are part of an emerging project that also includes two works from "Gringa Loteria", inspired by Mexican language-learning game cards.

This exhibition celebrates the joyous beauty of the world around us, and does so with the knowledge of how much we stand to lose, and have lost already.

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See "Interconexión" by Gaia Schilke at Imagine Studio Gallery from January 12 until February 12, located on Calle Moras #34 Interior #5, Colonia Guadiana, San Miguel de Allende. To view the exhibition please make prior appointment at artbyafisher@gmail.com

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Gaia [Gail] Schilke grew up in CT and lived in Manhattan for 20 years. She is most grateful to have discovered SMA and looks forward to many good years here. She has exhibited her artwork in New York, New England and Florida, and published her illustrations internationally. Schilke was an art therapist and then a psychotherapist for 30 years, and worked in clinical research. Schilke is also a poet, who recently shared her work at Shelter Theatre and Bellas Artes. Gaia is her given name; she gave it to herself.

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