For its current exhibit, Hyaena Gallery in Burbank, California, is communing with phantoms and the other-worldly in “Dreaming of Spirits.” The group art show features pieces by more than a dozen artists that explore the ghosts that plague us, both figuratively and literally, tapping into mental, emotional and spiritual terrain.
“She Hid It With Her Hair” is a beguiling work by Shane Izykowski. The San Francisco-based artist is a jack-of-all-trades who’s traversed several creative fields that include painting, sculpting, photography, makeup artistry, film, music and writing. He also hosts the podcast “Drawing from Experience.” Through his art, he aims to search for humanity through tragedy and loss.
Izykowski’s contribution for the exhibit portrays the skeletal side profile of a woman staring contemplatively into the distance. The figure appears to conceal an inner darkness, begging the question: “What skeletons does she hide in the closet?” It’s an arresting painting that exposes the somber machinations with which we struggle to confront.
Protruding from one wall and held by strings was a mixed media piece by Embry Blue titled “Serenity Listens.” The puppet wears a lavender dress and is adorned with flowers. At its center is a figurine dressed as Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” seated in front of a mirror.
In a social media post, Embry explains her long-standing curiosity with communication between the physical and spiritual realms. She views mirrors as a portal through which beings from other dimensions can cross and be contacted, explaining, “Dorothy is a symbol; she plays with energy orbs coming through the mirror as she sits in the garden of the stomach.”
The eyes are another fascinating element of the doll as they gaze with an expression of awe, reflecting emotions being felt within. The feature definitely makes Embry Blue’s creation look alive and brings to mind this quote from novelist Paulo Coelho: “The eyes are the mirror of the soul and reflect everything that seems to be hidden.”
An interesting story accompanies a work called “Haunted House” by Paul Blain Henrie who was primarily known for his seascapes. In this piece, a desolate home is perched atop a hill amid a gloomy atmosphere. Sounds like the setting for a classic horror story, no? Speaking of horror, Vincent Price was among the painter’s group of celebrity clients.
It turns out Henrie was caught in a scandal when it was discovered that he was selling forged artworks. He was tried and incarcerated for a time. In addition, Mladin Zarubica, who bought “Haunted House” in 1971, had some intriguing experiences during his time serving in World War II. One of these was an encounter with a man named Carlo who told him stories of espionage happening during the war. Years later, Zarubica discovered this individual was actually Adolf Hitler’s private secretary, Martin Bormann. The accounts he learned from their exchanges compelled him to write his well-known account “The Year of the Rat.”
“Haunted House” is available for purchase and considering its history, would make quite an addition to any art collection.
Several other impressive works are showcased at the gallery and if you can, I recommend stopping in to see them in person. “Dreaming of Spirits” is up until December 31st and admission is free.
To purchase pieces and find out about future events, visit the Hyaena Gallery official website.
Note: Top header image features a piece called “Free Spirits” by Kaya Dzankich