February 10th, 2024
“Prehistoric Whispers” is an extraordinary exhibition where the distant past and contemporary creativity converge. The works resonate with ancient echoes, as Gustlin’s evocative depictions of the human form as well as the Fibonacci sequence and Hollander’s elegant horse sculptures bring bygone eras to life. Through a blend of mediums, these artists transcend time, creating a mesmerizing dialogue between the past and present.
Sculptor Siri Hollander was born in New York in 1959, but her family quickly relocated to the south of Spain where they remained for most of her childhood. Siri’s earliest memories consist of riding massive Andalusian mares across the rolling hills of Andalusia, where these magnificent beasts and the land itself became her teachers. Arguably self-taught, Siri’s unusual and wild upbringing has certainly influenced her rough and emotional sculptures.
If you ask her how she knows a piece is finished she will simply answer that, “it’s a feeling.” With her acute sense of feeling, she has allowed her emotions and instincts to guide her through life, and her work. Siri says that “it is my familiarity with the subject (horses) that make it so I can easily bring my pieces to life and have them capture the essence of the living thing. I’ve spent many years being around horses constantly. At this point, they are more like my family than anything else.”
Hollander’s entire process formulated with the desire to make something grand. Beginning with welding together a steel armature, and then adding a mixture of cement and sand that she could collect in nearby riverbeds, this mixed media created something strong that could endure any weather. This mixture of earthy textures is also what gives Hollander’s work it’s unique character and textures. Between their unique textures and the exaggerated features of each of her work is inherently abstract, however somehow this abstract feeling helps her artwork to take on a life-like feeling.
Her use of rough textures may have been influenced by her earliest encounter with art, when Siri and her family found some ancient cave paintings in the South of Spain. The stone wall with its uneven textures and earthy pigments certainly influenced Siri at a young age. To this day Siri uses the same pigments in her original pieces (iron oxide and manganese) as those ancient cave-dwellers did in their work. These prehistoric cave paintings, along with the ancient Greek and Roman masters, inspire Siri Hollander every day to create art — and furthermore art that will persist throughout the passing of time.
Jylian Gustlin’s artwork is truly a modern hybrid between the past and the present. Her vibrant paintings explore the impact of new technologies on perception, though she uses traditional painterly techniques. Inspired by a life-long love of the San Francisco Bay Area Figurative artists, Gustlin utilizes mathematical theories such as the Fibonacci sequence, as well as the resonant tones of Latin phrases, African masks, and antique Roman vessels. Her Fibonacci and Entropy series are an extension of her work in computer graphics programming, meeting with her passion of oil and acrylic painting.
With an artist mother and IBM computer scientist father, Jylian Gustlin was a first-generation digital baby surrounded by art. Her father taught her computer programming, while her mother’s influence inspired her at age three to mural the four walls of her bedroom with a box of crayons.
Favoring oil and acrylic paints, charcoal, wax, gold leaf, pastel, and graphite, Gustlin draws, paints, and even scratches on the surfaces of her compositions. Many of her paintings resemble sculptures, an influence from figurative artists such as Nathan Oliveira. “But I’m inspired by everything,” she adds, including her own beloved nieces and nephews. “I first learned my scratching technique from them.”
Jylian Gustlin continues to explore the intersection between science and the arts. Her latest works focus on the chaotic phenomenon of entropy and the incrementally increasing numbers of the Fibonacci mathematical theories, but always with an open-source focus. “I just try to create suggestions,” she says. “I’m more interested in helping people see what they can see.”