Cynthia Minden has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally since her move to Denman in 1990.
Passionate about donkeys and a long-time student of positive reinforcement training, she is currently working towards certification in equine facilitated wellness, where, as a “learning professional,” she intends to combine the wisdom of donkeys with the joy of art making in experiential sessions for people. This new series is a blending of those passions, with the donkeys acting as collaborators by contributing chewed branches and winter hair.
From her comfortable and prolific home studio, gazing out towards the gardens and fields where her donkeys happily live, Cynthia purposefully combines found materials with the eclectic elements of nature under her well-trained and experienced hands.
In ANIMA-L, this most recent collection of work, Cynthia has created an exhibition of sculpture and mixed media that explores the relationship of animals and humans based on the inner life force “anima” or “soul” in Latin. The sculptures are both androgynous and animalistic but could also be seen as simplified human form; a “gathering of souls” in waiting or repose, lined up perhaps in migration.
The collection is crafted using a technique called random weave. Randomness and chance play a role, yet there is a structure and intention. Choosing the colours black and white to suggest clarity, polar opposites and simplification perhaps yin and yang, Cynthia at times incorporates vines for their wildness, or the hair of her beloved donkeys in felted balls, made by hand in a rhythmic rolling action that is timeless, and without boundaries.
These sculptural forms, along with art masks constructed from repurposed fly masks, harken back to ancient times and move us forward in the continuum of human and animal relationships. Disguises, rituals, archetypes, and ancestral memory are played with and act as metaphors for some of our most unsettling current world events; a glimpse into the consciousness of this talented artist.
ANIMA-L opens at the Denman Island Art Gallery (3646 Denman Rd.) Thursday, July 25 and runs to Aug. 6.
There is an opening night reception, at 7 p.m.
Gallery hours are weekdays and Saturdays 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. and Sundays 1-3:45 p.m.
For more information, visit www.cynthiaminden.com