Earth • Air • Water • Fire : Balancing on the Edge

Earth, Air, Water, Fire: Balancing on the Edge presents the work of Kelly Leahy Radding and Sanda Manuila, and is curated by Gwenda Joyce.  The exhibition explores the challenges to our environment from climate change, disasters, human development, and pollution and the impact upon threatened species, habitats, and natural resources.  The disruption to the primary balance of the elements is examined through a variety of media including egg tempera, casein, oil, pastel, and watercolor.

Kelly Leahy Radding (Columbia, CT) is an award-winning artist whose passion for wildlife is the thread running through her life and art.  She has painted in a realistic style for many years, first as a botanical artist and recently as a fine artist.  Kelly travels widely away from her home in Connecticut and photographs in nature, which become the sources for her paintings.  Her focus has been on the species that are threatened with extinction or have survived, becoming the success stories of our current age.  Her aesthetic challenge is to use different media, from casein and egg tempera to watercolor, to find that perfect means of her expression.

Sanda Manuila (St. Helena, CA) was born in Geneva, Switzerland of Romanian political refugees.  Having experienced expatriation and isolation, she left her native country as young adult and moved to Northern California.  Sanda paints visual stories to raise the question of our threatened environmental situation. Living so close to nature and the beautiful surroundings in Napa Valley’s wine country has made her extremely sensitive to its fragile beauty. Sanda’s concern for the threat to natural habitats that faces wildlife has become personal since she experienced evacuation from the threat of fires near her home in 2017.

“For all of us who are living today, there is a growing fear that the primary and steady distribution of resources that enables our surroundings will no longer remain stable.  We are seeing habitats threatened and experiencing environmental devastation all around us.  We fear that, if knocked off balance, life cannot continue to flourish and renew all living creatures.  There is a dynamic conflict between the fear of imminent loss and an appreciation and valuing of what already exists.  In dealing with these deep concerns, these artists [Kelly and Sanda] have created paintings to bring awareness to this situation that we face.  Their interest is in showing us what is important to preserve, and to remind and encourage us to value what we have, so that we don’t fall over the edge into the unknown.”  – Gwenda Joyce, Curator

Gwenda Joyce (Navato, CA) is the owner of Art Ambassador, working as an agent and career coach to support and guide artists to achieve success in their careers.  She is the former owner of Gwenda Jay Gallery in Chicago, IL and has curated for museums and galleries since 1993.  Recent projects include Love is a Rebellious Bird, featuring 23 artists working on themes of freedom and flight as characterized by birds, and an upcoming exhibition on homelessness by Megan Stefanki Segre at Tides Converge Galleries in the Presidio (San Francisco, CA).