Find your ‘BLISS’ with art you can touch
Living AuraTM BLISS, an exhibition by Winston-Salem artist Mona King will showcase an opening reception and artist talk at the Revolution Mill Central Gallery in Greensboro on Feb. 7 from 6-8 p.m. with light food and refreshments. Everyone is invited to come and meet the artist and “gently” touch the moss art. The show is up for viewing from Jan. 17 until March 13.
King, a native of Gary, Indiana, moved to North Carolina to work for Sara Lee 30 years ago. A full-time professionally trained artist, designer and interior Architect, she designs and produces Living AuraTM moss wall installations and other nature-inspired art, including paper casting and intaglio etchings. King grew up with flowers year-round, both inside and out. As a fine arts major, King first began drawing plants between classes where she found sanctuary in the warm, quiet college greenhouse that she said reminded her of the comfort of her family home. King’s mother, who was an avid gardener with a vast knowledge of plants, became her first influence on her art.
King began making moss art two years ago with an idea she had at a Biophilic Design and Entrepreneurship class at Wake Forest. She said she began working with air plants (Tillandsia plants that don’t need soil) for the first year, which requires daily misting and monthly care. When Wake Forest’s Wellness Center asked her to create something their facility people didn’t have to take care of, she began to research various types of mosses. Through trial-and-error, King began incorporating elements of nature and preserved mosses that do not normally require any maintenance. With proper care, she said you could enjoy moss art for 10-15 years like those in Denmark, France, Japan and other countries where the art form has caught on more.
King’s works range from being small enough to fit on a desk to take up an entire wall. It can also be mounted to the ceiling or hung from wire. King sources quality mosses, ferns and plants from all over the world that are preserved in a safe, non-toxic silica gel that absorbs the moisture from the plant and preserves it in its natural state. King said she prefers the natural mosses over the dyed ones, and she especially loves Lichen for accents, which has a hard-textured surface. King said she also enjoys being out in nature collecting bark, stones and fallen leaves to preserve for photography collage pieces.
(All of the pieces created for this show would be for sale, King said, and a portion of all sales would be donated to arts-based nonprofits.)
King said she likes to combine nature with things you don’t usually see. In one of her intaglio etchings (reversed ink press prints), she etched a flamingo blooming out of an orchid. Another has a person coming out of a tree with branches as arms she named “Roots.” She also makes paper castings, which is where she presses paper cotton pulp down into the mold to create a 3-D sculpture. She used this technique when she created a sculpture featuring a large Great Blue Heron with its wings spread out over a lake.
King said that she believes people need to feel good about where they are and that there are “scientific findings that state the psychological calming effects of bringing nature into your space.” King said moss art helps purify the indoor air quality, provides moisture, reduces noise, repels dust and is antibacterial. King had a show at Wiseman Brewing this past fall and was “pleasantly surprised how well-received” her moss art was. She said people told her that her pieces “took them back to how they felt like kids playing in the woods.”
King has work in private collections and has exhibited across North Carolina and South Carolina. She earned a B.A. of Fine Arts at Indiana University, a B.S. Interior Architecture at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and was a recipient of the UNCG Honors Council Student Excellence Award. King also received first place in the North Carolina Sustainable Home design competition.
King’s business, Mona + Associates Design, LLC, is a “multi-discipline environmental design firm that cultivates a commercial or residential environment by utilizing interior architecture, creative consulting, and living walls based on Biophilic design principals. It also outsources a virtual team of professionals with plans to create more jobs.”
“I would love for everyone to come out with an open mind to explore what is considered an old art form in the rest of the world,” King said. “This three-dimensional show will hopefully emote feelings to take you back to when you were a child in nature. We just feel better when we can be in or around nature. This is my joy!”
TERRY RADER is a freelance writer/editorial/content/copy, creative consultant/branding strategist, communications outreach messenger, poet, and emerging singer/songwriter.
Living Aura BLISS, an exhibition by Mona King, Jan. 17-March 13, Feb. 7, 6-8 p.m.
Opening Reception at Revolution Mill, Central Gallery (open during normal office hours), 1150 Revolution Mill Dr. in Greensboro, (336)235-2393.
Contact Mona King, LEED GA, Assoc. IIDA Founder/Chief Creative Cultivator at firstname.lastname@example.org