Real Live Action

Real Live Action: A Toast to this Moment (Art Exhibition)

w/ Nadya Isabella

Libby Leshgold Gallery; September 8, 2022

Zainab Fatima

The reception for Nadya Isabella’s debut art exhibit, A Toast to this Moment, was held on September eighth at the Libby Leshgold Gallery. In this collection Nadya juxtaposes  fantastical moments of human reality with imaginative scenes of fictional characters and non-human perspectives. 

The show consists of vibrant, saturated paintings where the colour palette and brush strokes capture the essence of a memory. For example, in one painting a person pours cream in their coffee. Here Nadya paints them with grey tones and a blue hat against a bright yellow café. The artwork invites the observer into its world, one that describes those slow, gloomy days where it seems as if the world is too loud and fast. 

This piece is just one example of how the many forms of human interaction are explored in A Toast to this Moment. Some paintings depict what are probably “traditional” moments one might think of when considering this, such as picnics and parties. However, the two paintings that attracted me the most were snapshots of cakes. I think part of what made me so in awe of these works in particular is, of course, my love for cake — as a dessert and as a symbol of celebration. In both artworks, the candles and firecrackers are lit, which Nadya explained was the key moment to capture. Certainly, there is much to say about those seemingly fantastical seconds when the candle glow becomes the centre of everyone’s attention and admiration. That being said, the exhibit is not limited to human based narratives.

Nature is a significant part of this collection as well, not just through the lively snapshots of outdoor picnics, but also through paintings that seemingly depict the perspectives of small creatures. One painting in particular struck out to me as it illustrated a group of moths, some who appeared to be conversing as they headed towards a bright light. Another piece is an extreme closeup of a spider web, reflecting the moon at night. These are moments that we probably aren’t experiencing ourselves, but surely they contain beauty that deserves recognition; perhaps such intricate depictions of non-human life become an avenue for further understanding, and maybe even empathising with the different organisms we co-exist with. 

Lastly, the human experience is combined with nature through Toadetta, an animated toad who is illustrated on a date in one painting, and listening to music in another. Even though animation is where the unimaginable is possible, I love that here a fictional character is experiencing what you and I can, reflecting on the immense joy brought to us  from even the most “ordinary” moments. A Toast to this Moment is a celebration of the real and unreal, where memory and imagination are merged to create a world where we can experience life in its multiple forms.