A new exhibition inspired by Latvian celebrations of the summer solstice has blossomed in a local gallery, inviting islanders to escape the world and immerse themselves in a giant bouquet.
‘Floral Immersive’ is the first solo show for Eliza Anna Reine at Private and Public Gallery.
The Latvian-born mixed media artist has been working in Jersey for the past three years.
Video: The exhibition features a floral installation.
From her studio based near La Folie pub, Eliza creates intricate collages using images of women taken out of women’s magazines, inks and delicate detailing.
It’s now been nearly three years that Eliza has been working on her collage technique and while she says “nothing has really changed”, there has definitely been in a shift in the tone of her work.
Where there previously was an abundance of deep reds, bright oranges and dark purples, Eliza’s latest show includes a range of blues.
Pictured: Eliza's latest show revels in blues and greens.
“It shifted from seeking for energy and from the reds,” the artist explained. “I surround myself with the colours and it’s unconscious, it’s only after that I realise what happened.
“I have been working around the sea, every day seeing the blue, living in the blue. It’s also calmer, it’s one of the most calming colours out there.”
Eliza’s creative process is also calming and she herself describes it as mindful. It starts with cutting out images of women from magazines.
Pictured: ‘Floral Immersive’ is the first solo show for Eliza Anna Reine at Private and Public.
“Going through the magazines, there are a lot of advertisements. You look at these and the women are all beautiful, with perfect skin and beautiful handbags. Then the next time you look in the mirror, you start comparing yourself to other women," she explained.
“The collage is a mindful process where I take the women out and place them on the board and mindfully work through it to take the focus away from the subject so that the focal point becomes the eyes, the gestures.
“This way the first thing you think about is not the ad or how the skin is, but what is she thinking about. I love the idea that it raises more questions of what is in these women’s heads.”
Pictured: “I cover women with flowers as a symbol of safety, accenting eyes and hands that take focus away from advertisement."
“With my artwork I take the women images and transfer them to a completely different and abstract environment where your imagination is guiding you without any distractions,” the artist added.
“I cover women with flowers as a symbol of safety, accenting eyes and hands that take focus away from advertisement and turning it into questioning, 'What’s it that this woman is thinking about?' It’s my mindful strategy of coping.”
In the spirit of mindfulness, Eliza says she has learned to “let the colour do its thing” and let go of some of the control as she creates new pieces of work.
“When you ease your control... It can really help to see the unexpected beauty of life.”
Eliza’s collages also heavily feature natural elements, represented in delicate patterns. But Floral Immersive takes the natural influence out of the frame with a floral installation.
The ceiling of the gallery has been covered in foliage mixed with hydrangea flowers, with a scented perfume and a specially curated soundtrack adding to the experience.
“Being surrounded by flowers, carrying flowers in your hands, picking them from the florist, it changes the way you carry yourself,” she said.
“It’s an easy tool to cheer you up. During this time, you need to know what tools to surround yourself with.”
Pictured: Floral elements feature heavily in Eliza's collages.
Speaking of the current times, Eliza says she has felt really privileged to be able to “work away” in her studio throughout lockdown, not only to prepare for the show but also to get away from the news.
“It’s been transformative in terms of understanding how important it is to do art for myself, because during that time, the time stops, you are there with the art work. At least for that time you are not thinking about any of these awful things going on.
“It’s an escape from it all.”
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