NovaOwl is a new gallery space operated by ULi Jansma, Ceakay Ballyhoo & Owl Dragonash within the Mainland community of Novatron on the southern side of Corsica. It opened at the start of April 2022 with an exhibition of art by Skip Staheli, that runs through until late June 2022.
As a part of a broader community, the gallery presents a waterfront location, complete with local boat moorings, an outdoor events area with café bar, opportunities to participate in a fishing contest to music every Monday at noon SLT, while a teleport centre alongside the landing point offers connections to other point of interest on the southern side of the continent.
The gallery building offers a main events space with a galleries lounge over, with the gallery hall running to one side, from front to rear. For Skip’s exhibition, this has been split into three, each of which with a specific focus for the presented art, which Skip describes thus:
The first room [is] a dark room, inspired by my dark thoughts, my worries and sadness, doubts and sometimes anger; about life and things going on in the world. Raw emotions.
The second room [reached] through a gateway, will bring you to a more mystical ambiance [one] still with a eerie feeling to it. Feel the calm, inhale the scent of fantasy, tiptoe to the little pond. Breathe in and see the fireflies dancing.
The third room will bring you to the light [and] a carefree happy spring feeling. [A place] where you can sit down and enjoy the flowers and tea with cake while your feet can rest and relax in the soft early spring grass. Maybe [you might] think a little about this journey in my head and I hope it can tickle you some, and at least give you a little well-deserved smile.
– Skip Staheli
The result is three rooms with three distinct, but equally captivating artistic thrusts- although visitors should be aware that the layout of the exhibition space means that the first room to be encountered is actually Skip’s second room, with the first immediately to the right on entering and the third immediately to the left.This tends to interrupt the flow of ideas compared to Skip’s notes, as the mystical setting is the first to be encountered – but it does not alter the fact that across all three halls, Skip presents selections of his art that are richly captivating, each one carrying with it a particular narrative – or narrative themes in the case of some.
In this, I would dispute Skip’s reference to the first hall being about “dark” thoughts per se; both Run! and Tears for Australia speak to a man with a depth of love for nature and for animals that reaches well beyond anger to empathy and desire to help and care – although one can well accept an underlying anger at those who are careless enough to bring about wildfires quite outside of any natural causes of the same.
The love of animals and nature is reflected in one of the images in the second room, sitting among those that turn more to fantasy for their narrative, and which in turn flow through to the remain hall, where beauty and nature take centre seat. Thus, while the three halls each have their own core ideas, all are joined through the richness of art and thematic flow that passes through all of the pieces presented.
- Skip Staheli at NovaOwl (Novatron, rated General)