Through existing works and new commissions, artists Susan O’Malley (San Jose), Leah Rosenberg (San Francisco), and Christine Wong Yap (New York) explore the age-old question: How do we cultivate happiness? Wong Yap's series of texts sewn from ribbons and installed directly on the gallery wall convey messages encouraging positive mental habits, while a new large-scale drawing diagrams the interconnections between theories of subjective wellbeing. Rosenberg explores how color, light and material impact our sense of contentment. Inspired by the use of light as a therapy for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), she invites gallery visitors to stand in front of her Illuminated Stripe Works, a series of small striped light boxes, and alleviate negative emotion. O’Malley has created a space in the gallery and invites visitors to experiment with various happiness-inducing activities, testing out the benefits of talking and listening to one another, and allowing time to relax. By transforming the gallery, O'Malley, Rosenberg and Wong Yap also examine the role of aesthetic pleasure in inspiring positive emotion.
Happiness is… extends outside the gallery on to Montalvo’s 175-acre grounds, with Wong Yap’s Irrational Exuberance Flags. Activating a flagpole in front of the Lucas Artists Residency, this rotating series of colorful flags represents the energetic spirit of exuberance and optimism. O’Malley and Rosenberg have collaborated to create A Healing Walk. O’Malley has marked various points on her walk with signage featuring positive and happiness-affirming directives. O’Malley’s walk is punctuated by colorful design elements crafted by Rosenberg, including two striped benches.
Through research, experimentation and grand gesture, O’Malley, Rosenberg, and Wong Yap examine the complex emotions, conditions and actions involved in generating happiness.
Happiness is… is organized by the Lucas Artists Residency. This exhibition launches Montalvo Art Center’s new theme, Flourish: Artists Explore Wellbeing. Over twenty months, Montalvo will explore the topic of wellbeing through a series of exhibitions, conversations, performances, workshops and screenings, developed in collaboration with artists from the Lucas Artists Residency Program, and Montalvo’s Education Department.
Listen to a podcast of The Aphorists, featuring a conversation with the three artists from Happiness Is... about Positive Psychology, skepticism, cake eating, and making work that makes a difference.
GALLERY OPENING AND RECEPTION (Friday, January 25, 7-9pm)
Visitors will experience some of the components of happiness - pleasure, celebration and sharing - by joining us for site-specific cookies created by artist Leah Rosenberg. The artists will be in attendance to discuss their work.
IRRATIONAL EXUBERANCE FLAGS (Saturday, January 26, 1-1:30pm, LAP Lot 1)
Celebrate the raising of Irrational Exuberance Flag with artist Christine Wong Yap.
Happiness is…A CONVERSATION (Saturday, January 26, 1:30pm, Phelan Library in the historic Villa)
A SPACE (FOR YOU) (January 25 - April 14, Project Space Gallery)
HAPPINESS TAKES SHAPE (Wednesday, March 20, 7pm, Phelan Library in the historic Villa)
THE SOUND OF HAPPINESS: A VOICE AND POETRY WORKSHOP (Saturday, March 23, 1-3pm, historic Villa)
RSVP to this exhibition on our Facebook page!