Yvette Molina: Big Bang Votive

Mitzi and Warren Eisenberg Gallery
February 28–March 18, 2020 (Closed temporarily due to COVID-19)
Reopened October 3, 2020–January 18, 2021
installation shot of Big Bang Votive

Artist Yvette Molina believes that when we share stories of love or delight, we enrich and heal the world. She explored this idea in Big Bang Votive—a collaborative storytelling project that evolved over fifteen weeks, utilizing the Eisenberg Gallery as an exhibition space, an artist studio, and a place for social interaction.

To begin the project Molina covered the walls with nearly three hundred paintings of starry skies, some incorporating cosmic phenomena such as galaxies, supernovas, nebulas and black holes. On various panels Molina painted a single object floating against this cosmic background. These are votive symbols of delight or love taken from stories she has gathered from the public. The installation also included a work table with the artist’s painting materials, a rug, comfortable chairs, and a “story catcher”—a nine-foot square of silk painted in deep indigo and scattered with stars. Visitors who observed Molina painting in the gallery learned about her use of egg tempera—an ancient but enduring medium made from egg yolk and raw pigment.

Molina did interviews throughout the course of the exhibition, where participants shared a personal story that sparked delight or inspired love. They then chose an object to represent their story and Molina rendered that image in egg tempera onto an existing “cosmos” panel from the installation. Once completed, the painting was returned to the wall as a votive offering that increased joy and love. Over the course of the show, a constellation of human experiences and connections developed as votives were added weekly to the exhibition. Not all the panels had painted symbols. Molina reserved some as a cosmic backdrop, reflecting the limitless capacity of the universe to accept all of our stories.

Yvette Molina: Big Bang Votive was funded in part by Patricia A. Bell.