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Seeing the World as Magical—and Mystical

By Joseph Dispenza

Danisha cow

Dan, Nisha (together known as DaNisha), and Dawn have 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. This show has images that support living with joy, metamorphosis, healing, freedom, empowerment, blessings and enlightenment.

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

Dawn’s work for this show features her flower of life paintings. The flower of life is a sacred geometric symbol of the pattern of the universe and can be found in many religions and cultures of the world; it is one of the oldest sacred symbols known to man; the oldest, found in Egypt at the temple of Osiris, is at least 6,000 years old. The medium she uses to create these is called encaustic painting. Dawn makes her medium with beeswax, tree resin and colored pigments. Then she paints in thin glaze-like layers and heat fuses each layer. Some of her paintings include resin figures that she has made and embellished.

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, each answered without hesitation, “Artist!”

They met at the Art Centre of the Central Technical School of Ontario and married after graduation. 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, and 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 also cityscapes, sometimes encompassing a whole town with all its buildings around a bowl.

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.

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 published work is a novella, The Passion of Sister Barbara.

The Magical and the Mystical
Showing by Dawn Gaskill and Dan and Nisha Ferguson
Tue, Aug 12, 5–8pm
Teatro Ángela Peralta
Gallery hours Aug 13-19, 11am–5pm, closed Sunday

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