We are excited to present a large body of new work by extraordinary artist Dena Novak in collaboration with the Simone Gad Foundation. A portion of all sales from this exhibition will support the foundation: https://simonegadfoundation.org Fearlessly Weighted is the artist’s most recent, body of work, presenting a found freedom that is both harmonious and unleashed. This series manifests in Dena’s work as an intuitive, ritualistic process meditating, dancing and of layering paint onto panels in thick strata that symbolically counteracts the thinning of her body’s connective tissue. In the 1980s, Novak was influenced by second-and third-wave feminism. In our tumultuous early 2020s, her work continues to critique ideas of “the feminine” and the subjectivity of beauty through an autobiographical lens that includes her chronic physical illness she uses heavy impasto to work in deep layers. These paintings challenge conceptions of beauty and investigate ideas of hope, fear, and transcendence through her experience of living with both Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and Autism. “People with EDS struggle daily with the thinning of the proteins and collagens that hold our bones in place. I am not interested in the illusion of space but in the materiality of paint. The finite area of the picture plane compresses the physical and emotional experience of making the work, offering a vital expression of being fully present and alive through the act of painting.”
Dena Novak is a painter, teacher, mother, and advocate for Autism and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) awareness based in Los Angeles, CA. She was born and raised in Chicago, where she studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before transferring to Colorado College to complete her undergraduate studies in fine art. While working on her Master of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis on Art Education at Tufts/Museum School, Novak experimented with ceramics alongside her continued painting practice. In 2021, she presented a one-person exhibition of her paintings that was accompanied by a panel discussion addressing her art and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome as part of the Keck School of Medicine’s HEAL Presents Art & Medicine program at the University of Southern California. Novak was awarded the Inaugural Exhibition Program Award by the Simone Gad Foundation, Los Angeles, CA for her exhibition at bG Gallery in January 2023. Since 2003, she has been an art teacher working with children and adult learners.
The Simone Gad Foundation seeks to support artists with unique challenges to find footing in the art world and is proud to grant Dena Novak as its first recipient of the Exhibition Program. The Simone Gad Exhibition Program helps secure and support gallery exhibitions for artists. An emphasis is placed on supporting creative practitioners who have been unfairly overlooked or who have experienced debilitating challenges or setbacks in their careers due to societal challenges, inherited legacies of generational trauma, and/or unexpected personal or financial crises. Recipients are currently selected based on board member nominations and chosen from the Residencies Program. Further information about the foundation can be found at https://simonegadfoundation.org .
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