Jessica Dalva “Hapax Legomena” Studio Visit


Many of Jessica Dalva’s multidimensional, mixed media works are self-referential in concept, some based on nightmares, internal and external struggles, and even an overheard conversation on a walk where she heard the frightening line “yeah, and everything around her was on fire.”  However, in the darkness of these situations, the artist manages to find light, stating, “As much as things can fall apart there’s always something you can find – a positive experience”

Hapax Legomena” is Dalva’s second solo show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery

The term “Hapax Legomena” is used to describe words that only appear once in a text or language, often rendering them untranslatable. Each piece in this series revolves around an individual word, a facet, a unique expression of a part of the complex variety of personal battles we fight. These experiences can be difficult to convey due to the lack of a context to anchor them as well as the inherent gap between understanding and expression. The pieces are singular expressions of an idea, hapax legomena, in that they are representing distinctive concepts, as well as attempting to communicate the untranslatable through the imperfect language of art. The show focuses on one’s relationship with oneself, internal wars, and the entanglements of love. The sculptures are a navigation through fears, moments of clarity and joy, and nightmares – Jessica Dalva

Dalva’s works start with loose ideas and take shape as they progress – As her pieces come together the concept becomes more clear – the artist places importance on the specific wording of her titles, though these titles are not set in stone until the piece has reached completion.
Dalva, who often works in the stop-motion animation industry, had originally planned to study fashion design in school, but switched to a major in illustration, with additional study in sculpting and design. Her wide variety of interests, as well as encouragement in school to experiment with as many mediums as possible, has had a major influence on her creative process.
Among the materials neatly organized in her home studio, Dalva works with acrylic paint, aluminum armature wire, aluminum foil, mohair or alpaca hair, glass beads (for eyes), fake & real flower parts, feathers, wood, gold leaf, resin, silver, metal, brass, fabric including silk, flocking and Super Sculpey (polymer clay) to create her incredibly detailed pieces.

“Hapax Legmena” opens on Friday, May 1 at La Luz de Jesus Gallery with Annie Murphy-Robinson’s “Roles and Poses” and remains up through May 31.

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