Surely a Treat
As a New Yorker and an art lover, one of my favorite days every summer is the Chelsea Art Walk. Each July, many of the galleries in Chelsea stay open late and schedule lectures and performances free of charge (this year’s 3rd annual Art Walk was July 26th). I love wandering into all the different exhibits, sipping on refreshments, and discovering artists both new and new to me.
Last year, one piece hanging on the wall immediately caught my eye. Over 6 feet tall, a beautifully stoic woman stood in an old-fashioned pale pink dress against a tropical wallpaper-like background. Her gown was adorned with buttons, flowers, lace, and a tiny porcelain bird perched on her shoulder. It was a mixed media treat for the art and fashion fan alike. But all those lovely touches surrounding her serious stare alluded to a deeper exploration of femininity and womanhood.
I remember immediately making a note in my iPhone of the artist’s name: Nina Surel. The piece that had made such an impression on me was part of her series, Flora y Fauna. Each beautiful work features the same woman, sometimes two, draped in beautiful clothing with three-dimensional touches. As the series’ title would suggest, plants and animals also play prominent roles in these pieces made with lace, buttons, porcelain, photography, costume jewelry, and resin on wood.
Born and raised in Argentina, Ms. Surel is now based in Miami, though her artwork has been exhibited all over the world. If you’d like to see more of her beautiful creations, visit her website. Her other series, Understory, is equally sumptuous and thought provoking with a darker palette and sensual tone.
I find her work inspiring, not only for its complex message, but also for its incredible use of materials. It’s just such a feast for the eyes… and all with buttons and baubles that can be found in your home or local thrift or craft store! It definitely makes me want to put that bag full of spare buttons on my dresser to good use.
Do you have any spare trinkets, fabrics, or costume jewelry lying around the house? They could make a fabulous mixed-media work of art!