In the rush to create ultra-modern bamboo chairs, entertainment centers, desks, wallets, and other generally eco “stuff,” the pure beauty of natural forms is sometimes lost in modern design for industrialization. So it is blissfully refreshing to mentally reconnect with exhibit Tickling Thicket at Oakland Gallery, Johansson Projects, where artists Katy Stone and Yvette Molina use innovative painting techniques to create spellbinding, ethereal natural forms.

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In Katy Stone’s work, acrylic paint is intertwined with a plastic sheeting called Duralar, which the Seattle-based artist then mounts on walls in full light to expose textures and contours. In fact, she claims “shadows” as one of her “materials used” in every piece. The resulting forms are spooky and organic– the shapes are reminiscent of the endless and gorgeous forms of nature often overlooked: flower stems, puddles, pistils, stamens, cells. The points, mounds, curls and empty spaces overlap and frame each other in ethereal microcosms.

Yvette Molina’s depictions of nature are more exact, made supernatural by their context. Inspired by the natural landscape of Oakland, California, the Bay area artist paints detailed renditions of plants and places on pieces of lacquered metal. The metallic sheen makes the beauty of the painting stand out– textbook-perfect renditions of forests surrounded by a silvery glow.

A walk through the exhibit offers a brain tickle of sorts. The organic forms are aesthetic reminders of a more cryptic green design that has existed long before us and will continue long after we’re gone.

+ Johansson Projects

+ Katy Stone

+ Yvette Molina