The latest iteration of our monthly series of Final Friday Art Parties is coming up tomorrow, Friday, April 25. We're excited to try something a little different: our Art Party has been organized as a salon-style experience.
What does that mean exactly? It means that the emphasis of the evening will be interaction between the featured artists and the guests attending. Personally, I've always been intrigued by the idea of salons as a social space for creative people to engage in meaningful conversation, so I am especially excited about tomorrow night's festivities.
We have a great, dense schedule of multi-disciplinary activities lined up! We will begin with a reception in the historic Villa, featuring Color Palate, an edible installation and projection organized by Artists-in-Residence Christy Chan and Leah Rosenberg. Visitors are invited to consume flavorsome and colorful treats, such as fruit jellies, carrot curls, and party sandwiches from a banquet table. A live stream projection will capture the evolving composition of color, flavor, and arrangement.
Next, celebrated Bay Area solo/chamber music/orchestral performer Brenda Tom will play Dream for Piano, a haunting and ethereal composition composed by current Artist-in-Residence Howard Hersh, who will speak about the work briefly after Tom's performance.
BY LEAH AMMON, MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
Singh sees her art practice as a way to create a bridge between marginalized communities. Arising from a deep interest in anthropology and sociology, her works engage wide publics, and frequently seek to generate awareness about social issues and concerns.
This week’s chapter of San Jose State University Film Production Society's documentary about Tiffany Singh's The Bells of Mindfulness project illustrates the arrival of the components at the persimmon tree. The work was installed color by color, starting with the base chakra red and moving round the tree to finish at the crown chakra purple. The dyed twine was tied to the tree then cut at the right height, each strand with a bell and paper cranes then attached to it. The finished installation created a sort of giant natural sun dial—the sun hit the colors at different times of the day, making the tree glow in rainbow hues.
The whole installation took 12 days to complete. Singh sends a huge “thank you!” to all the volunteers that took part in creating this work. “It truly was a beautiful thing to see it realized,” she says.
In this final installment of our conversation, Tiffany Singh talks about a previous installation of The Bells of Mindfulness, and more broadly, about her creative development and practice.
INT: This is not the first iteration of The Bells of Mindfulness, correct?
TS: That’s right. I did a version of it in Melbourne (Australia) and it didn’t work at all. Melbourne is a big city, the piece was installed in the middle of a shopping district—and it just got destroyed. I think it was because people were in an acquiring mindset. They were out on a Saturday afternoon, shopping. They came across this beautiful thing—the installation of the bells—and they just took them.
That’s why, here at Montalvo, I’ve picked a spot that’s a bit out of the way as my installation site. I hope people will feel a little more invested in the work from the outset because they’ve had to put in the effort to find it, rather than just stumbling upon it.
INT: Was your process for informing people about the intention of the piece different at the Melbourne installation? Were you present at the installation site to talk to people when it was being activated, as you have been here at Montalvo?
Today’s chapter of San Jose State University Film Production Society's documentary about Tiffany Singh's The Bells of Mindfulness project is entitled “Holding Dyes,” and it shows the process the artist used to prepare the threads from which the bells were hung. The organic twine, which was naturally dyed using sun and salt to cure the colors, was chosen for its natural relationship to the bark and textures of the persimmon tree. The seven colors used are a reference to the colors of the chakras.
The chakras—in the Hindu metaphysical tradition and other eastern belief systems--are points or knots, in the subtle (or non-physical) body. They are located at the physical counterparts of the major plexuses of arteries, veins, and nerves. As such, they are the meeting points of energy channels. Each energetic center has a color associated to it. This particular color spectrum has become a signature motif in Singh’s practice.
Today’s installment of San Jose State University Film Production Society's documentary about Tiffany Singh's The Bells of Mindfulness project is entitled “Dipped in Beeswax,” and focuses on Singh’s use of beeswax loops in the installation of the bells. With twine dipped in wax from the hives behind the Lucas Arts Residency and mixed with the soil of Montalvo, she created a ring on which to hang each bell. The addition of the wax to the piece provides a direct link to the earth. It also provides a delicious aroma, attracting bees to aid in pollination for the Montalvo gardens.
Singh uses a variety of natural materials in her artworks including beeswax, spices, rice and flower petals. These objects relate to her interest in colour and to wider environmental concerns. By using beeswax, Singh makes connections between the artwork and the environment, and also draws attention to the life of bees – the way they gather nectar, distribute pollen, and make wax and honey. Singh comments, “Bees are such an intrinsic part of the work – they are key collaborators with me.”