The magical and the mystical

By Joseph Dispenza

Get ready to take a magical mystery tour when Dawn and DaNisha Sculpture present their exciting new work at Casa de la Noche. Titled The Magical and the Mystical, this showing by three well-known San Miguel artists—Dawn Gaskill, and Dan and Nisha Ferguson—features art that will dazzle and inspire.

Opening of The Magical and the Mystical

Dawn Gaskill and DaNisha Sculpture (Dan and Nisha Ferguson)

Wed, Jul 25, 5-8pm

Casa de la Noche

Órganos 19


Dan, Nisha (together known as DaNisha), and Dawn worked together and showed their art at the Galeria Eclectica in the Instituto Allende. They enjoy collaborating because their work has a common spirit—one of joy and delight, expressed through intense color and a blend of the sacred and the whimsical.

“I am probably the only artist who wrote a purpose statement before ever creating anything,” says Dawn Gaskill, who came to art from the world of business. As a consultant to Fortune 500 companies, she taught businesses to develop purpose or mission statements. “So it was natural for me to use those tools to start my career as an artist.”

Dawn’s vision is to joyfully create beautiful art, product designs, and environments that capture people’s imaginations, lift their spirits, and nurture them in their daily lives. She does this by integrating ancient symbols from diverse cultures and spiritual traditions into contemporary designs. When they are displayed in homes or in work environments, they support people’s pursuit of personal and professional intentions.

“I call my work Intentional Art,” Dawn says, “Because it is created with the intention to reinforce one’s personal intentions and aspirations.”

She meditates daily, and the inspiration for her work comes directly from visions she see in a contemplative state. “Once I see the images in my mind’s eye,” Dawn says, “I start with intentions that support the symbolism. To deepen and enhance the creative process, I chant while I am painting.”

Dawn’s work for this show features two new series—an encaustic Feng Shui collection and “The Golden Ones,” a celebration of the divine path of all spiritual traditions. The new Feng Shui series comprises nine paintings that represent the aspects of the classical Feng Shui Ba Gua. The medium she uses to create these is called encaustic painting. Dawn makes her medium with beeswax, resin and colored pigments… then paints in thin glaze-like layers and heat fuses each layer.

Her new “Golden Ones” series is an extension of her collection “When Every Breath is Prayer.” About it, Dawn says, “Since the beginning of time, every culture has had a belief system in a higher power…something to draw near to in devotion. I wanted to honor that deep human impulse in my art.”

Canadian artists Nisha and Dan Ferguson knew as children that they would be artists. From early childhood, both were fascinated with drawing. When asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, both answered without hesitation, “Artist!”

They met at the Art Centre of the Central Technical School of Ontario, and, after graduation, married. They are the parents of two sons, Joshua and Julian. Internationally renowned as DaNisha Sculpture, they exhibit their work in prestigious galleries and boutiques throughout Canada, Mexico, the United States and Australia.

“Over time, our work has evolved in fundamental ways,” says Dan Ferguson. “It is very true that one must always return to the basics in order to improve and hone one’s work.” They use two materials; ceramic and bronze. Their work then consists of three components; sculpture, drawing/painting and design.

Much of their work is characterized by the fanciful dances of animals around the insides and outsides of bowls and other ceramic objects—and cityscapes, sometimes encompassing a whole town with all its buildings around a bowl.

When people speak of DaNisha sculpture, invariably the words used to describe it are optimism, excitement, innocence, wonder and awe.

“Believing in the power of color was something I came to slowly,” says Nisha. “Grasping the depth of emotion color can convey has been my challenge. I cross into the world of emotion and color with excitement, searching for ways to express feelings and love.”

Nisha, an accomplished acrobat and choreographer, may once have been tempted to run away and join the circus, but instead she founded the successful performance troop in Ontario known as “Gravityworks.” In San Miguel, she reformed and trained a new group, which performs around the state of Guanajuato.

“Working with my life partner and compromising my ideas in order to find something new is a metaphor for our life together,” says Dan. “However, ‘compromise’ is an illusion. Actually, it allows for possibilities neither of us may have thought of.”

The show “The Magical and the Mystical” is a rare opportunity to savor the exquisite art of three marvelous artists. Their work, vibrant and joyful, is a delight and an inspiration.

Joseph Dispenza is a writer who lives in San Miguel. He latest book is Older Man Younger Man: A Love Story.

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