It is coming fast and furiously. The Bunnyman Bridge Collective isn’t opening until April 5th, 7 - midnight at the Epicure Cafe in Fairfax, however the threesome escaped their cages at Javier Padilla’s SANTA VIDA exhibit that opened Saturday night at the Fairfax Art League gallery. The Collective includes Javier, Jason Davis and Jessica Kallista.
This reviewer first discovered Jessica Kallista on a referral from artist Nancy Davis who is Jessica’s studio mate. Her story is referenced below. Now, it is time to reveal The Bunnyman Collective on merit that these groundbreaking artists are making news by breaking the mold in the greater DC Metro that is filled with artists. Doing something different that is entertaining and makes sense is a tall order, but they have taken the leap. I asked Jessica to fill me in on what happened last night. It may be a glimpse into what will happen next. Expect the unexpected and still be surprised.
“Thanks so much for your interest in last night's live painting performance by myself and Jason Davis at Javier's SANTA VIDA opening. Javier painted the portrait with this performance in mind, although it came to a complete surprise to the audience. The image for the portrait was appropriated from a painting of Elisabeth of Saxony by Lucas Cranach the Younger. Thus the title of the mixed media piece by The Bunnyman Bridge Collective is a bit of an anagram, "Sulca the Young Anarchist." Play is a vital element in our work. It was an incredible night filled with frenetic creative energy. Here is a bit of what the evening was like:
Santa Vida— a show of new work by painter Javier Padilla—is a dynamic and energetic sign of art events to come in Northern Virginia. The opening, held at the Village Gallery on University Drive in Fairfax, bustled to the sounds of DJ Marcus Blanchard’s blend of reggae and classic hip hop, while throngs of gallery goers crowded around Padilla’s works. Padilla’s paintings are graphic and charged, bringing sacred and everyday images together to praise and invigorate each moment of life. The imperfect is perfect, his work seems to argue. Images of a fish hanging with birds on a telephone wire, of men who look broken by struggle, and personal images such as the artist in headphones form a carefully crafted world that praises the moment. His thick broad strokes and bold bright color—featured in both small and large-scale works—create a vivid and entrancing exhibit.
Halfway through last night’s opening of Padilla’s Santa Vida, in a Situationist-inspired performance, painter Jason Davis and mixed media artist Jessica Kallista assaulted one of Padilla’s pieces: Sulca the Young Anarchist, a portrait of a demure woman that stuck out as somewhat reserved compared to Padilla’s other pieces in the show. Jessica Kallista, wielding images of doll eyes and plastic octopus tentacles, started things off by covering the woman’s mouth with the artist’s own gaze, and Jason Davis added dark life in reds and blues in intricate drips and chaotic filigree. While this took the audience by surprise, a delighted and curious crowd soon gathered around to see a very different portrait emerge. This performance not only provided an insight into the methods and approaches of these artists and contextualized them within a long history of instigation-oriented artists, it also served as a reminder that Javier Padilla is a part of The Bunnyman Bridge Collective, a new artist collective formed by Jason Davis, Jessica Kallista, and Javier Padilla, dedicated to waging art against the mundane in the suburbs of Northern Virginia. Through liberating and artful acts of play, appropriation, experimentation, and surprise The Bunnyman Bridge Collective engages art lovers and the community at large to reimagine and reconsider the ways in which we all interact with art, with artists, and with one another.
Santa Vida will be on display at the Village Gallery, 3950 University Drive, Fairfax, VA through March. The Bunnyman Bridge Collective will hold an opening reception for their group show, Tell Me Something, on April 5, 7pm-midnight at Epicure Café located at 11104 Lee Highway in Fairfax, VA.
I've attached pictures of the before, during, and after evolution of the painting. You can also copy them from my facebook page or The Bunnyman Bridge Collective page if you like. I've also included a picture from one of the walls in the Santa Vida exhibit. I hope we will see you at the April 5 show at Epicure Cafe. I'm sure there will be many more energetic bursts of creativity throughout the opening of Tell Me Something.”