In artist Wendy Gadzuk’s Morongo Valley home, there is a harmony amongst religious and darkish symbolism. Images of Buddha and the Virgin Mary affiliate with her assemblages applying feathers, animal bones, dolls and steel gears.
Gadzuk’s work is a relationship of splendor and darkness. Just one specific piece hanging in her kitchen area is a doll’s head created to glance like a demon in Hindu lifestyle, with the skull of a chicken at the leading of its crown. Huge blue feathers blow out of its body. The eyes, created of white and blue gems, aqua beading all-around the neck and what resembles a beak for a mouth, are fascinating and horrifying.
Some of Gadzuk’s operate is provided on The Hwy 62 Artwork Tours, which opens on Saturday and requires place above three weekends right until Oct. 24. She’s No.15 on the tour at La Matadora Gallery, and her get the job done will be shown in the similar house as artists Bunny Reiss and Colleena Hake.
A person of Gadzuk’s 4 cats sits in her lap as she talks about traveling by way of Europe as a kid, when she visited architectural websites and churches with her late father, physicist Bill Gadzuk. She was not raised in any religion, but is drawn to the images, which inspire her perform.
Gadzuk mentioned a ton of religious imagery in Christianity humanizes its spiritual issue without having revealing its troubled record, introducing her boyfriend Tony was lifted in a rigorous spiritual domestic and it “kind of messed with him.”
This turned notably obvious when the pair went on a day to a Bay Location mission early in their relationship.
“I’m looking at it appreciating it from an creative standpoint and he was in there pondering about all the indigenous people today who have been killed to wipe out their culture and force this wave of thinking and belief on them,” Gadzuk claimed. “Equally of our activities are validated, and it was exciting with what you grew up with impacting anything you working experience.”
Just one piece that will be in the present, “The Sickness,” hangs in her studio. It resembles a birdhouse, but with a red doll head inside of the hole and the composition is adorned with lace, pearls, locks of an ex-boyfriend’s hair and two vials of Gadzuk’s menstrual blood.
That piece is about relationships and how normal aspects interact with just about every other, she explained, even although the stop consequence of that conversation just isn’t always beneficial.
Most of her assemblages are centered on 1 figure, which she characteristics to getting an only youngster.
“I believe that’s form of how I linked to that solitary practical experience and making points like altars, which are a house to honor or capture a certain working experience, impression, memory or experience,” Gadzuk said.
In 2018, Tony’s health disorders led to a lengthy clinic keep and aftercare, which impressed her to start creating items out of medical squander. Products such as syringes, IV tubing, gauze and other discarded items that aren’t biohazardous became an full series for Gadzuk. The pieces make a statement about an environmental effects and a horrific practical experience.
One particular assemblage piece resembles a Victorian candelabra, but as an alternative of candles, it features syringes filled with pearls. The border is a blend of gauze, gold lace and plungers.
“Somebody seemed at it and was like, ‘Oh wow, this piece looks like it is about heroin habit,’” Gadzuk stated. “I never want to have a preconceived idea of how anyone is likely to experience my operate. What is interesting for me is listening to what their practical experience is and how it can differ fully from mine.”
‘I never always have a story’
Following a gallery show in Los Angeles in 2016, Gadzuk obtained a contact from the owner telling her a few was fascinated in buying one particular of her items — and needed to know the tale behind it. She could communicate about her approach, but didn’t have a special meaning driving the work to share with the couple.
“I really don’t always have a tale,” Gadzuk explained. “Sometimes it reveals alone to me following I make the piece and I’m pursuing a system exactly where I get started out with a general thought of where I’m going and it evolves as I go in. There is constantly a position where I sense hooked up and drop in adore with a piece, and I need to have to have that happen for it to be great.
The creative aspect of making artwork is also 1 Gadzuk sees as a journey of self-discovery. She had to “unlearn” the traditional procedures of her art school education at the College of the Arts in Philadelphia, in which every work needs to have a idea, idea and/or a assertion prior to the get the job done begins.
“You never have to have to have it all planned out, I’d be trapped and wouldn’t exist if that was the concept I labored with,” Gadzuk claimed.
One theme seems to be planned into pretty much all of her work — lifestyle and loss of life. Gadzuk said rusted objects observed in the desert, animal bones, snake pores and skin and other refined supplies symbolize this thought, introducing, “Life is a procedure that embraces or encompasses birth to demise, it’s all there.”
Gadzuk explained she enjoys operating with bones since she likes the way they glance, and how they characterize the pure essence of existence — though also serving as a reminder of dying.
But working with bones normally takes some having applied to, and cleaning them takes a fantastic offer of trial and error.
The very first time she explored this medium was just after attending a Thanksgiving meal with her now ex-boyfriend’s spouse and children. She took the turkey carcass dwelling and discovered that if she boiled it, she could soften the bones.
She just lately uncovered a coyote carcass and is generating preparations to get rid of its flesh. Gadzuk mentioned there are two approaches to do this: using beetles or putting them in a bucket of drinking water and permitting the microorganisms take in the flesh.
“It smells so undesirable, I’m glad I live somewhere with outside area. It’s not a glamorous system,” she stated.
Reconnecting with audio in the desert
In advance of transferring to Morongo Valley in 2016, Gadzuk lived in Tucson, Arizona, Los Angeles and Oakland, where she labored in a cafe and endured a repetitive tension injuries from carrying food trays. In the latest decades, when it become unaffordable to are living in the Bay Area because of gentrification, she and Tony looked at transferring to the desert.
“I adore the landscape and the 1 detail that marketed us on this property was the night time sky,” Gadzuk stated. “Living in the Bay Place, you don’t see stars. I appreciate currently being in a position to have some outside place to go for a walk or glimpse up at the sky.”
Apart from visual art, Gadzuk is also a musician and plays guitar. She’s been in the bands Whiskey Bitch, Cockpit, Suckerstar — with Betty Blowtorch members Blare N. Bitch and Sharon Needles — and in the 440s with ex-husband Dave Chamillard right before disbanding in 2004.
A guitar player considering that 15, she counts late Motörhead guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke as an inspiration. Adhering to the loss of life of bassist and vocalist Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister in 2015, she and a further Bay Place musician, Beth Allen, had ideas to begin a Motörhead tribute band called Motördead.
Motördead practiced in Gadzuk’s East Oakland loft and manufactured a setlist of tracks to find out, but it didn’t materialize till the two she and Allen moved to the desert four miles away from each individual other.
“I have so quite a few guitars, but this one particular guitar I was heading to use for this band hadn’t been played considering that we had gotten alongside one another. When I opened up the circumstance, all our notes and the setlist from when she came to my area in Oakland were being in there,” Gadzuk claimed.
Facilitating discussion by way of art
Throughout The Hwy 62 Art Tours, Gadzuk ideas to have other merchandise for sale, this sort of as her “Deconstructed Divination” deck of oracle cards and an accompanying e book, “The Magic Of 8” that reveals just about every card with a Haiku poem. The reserve is committed to her father, who died in January.
This is the very first time Gadzuk will be featured on the tour. She’s finished gallery demonstrates at La Matadora Gallery in advance of and enjoys the activities people share with her soon after searching at the artwork.
“I guess the most essential thing is that regardless of what they truly feel or see facilitates some form of conversation, and I feel which is the most critical point,” Gadzuk stated.
Desert Sunshine reporter Brian Blueskye covers arts and entertainment. He can be attained at [email protected] or on Twitter at @bblueskye.