Born into a family of pharmacists, artist Anna Homler took a different route in her life to provide succor using ethereal, transcendent art forms to heal the psyche, recording and performing songs in tongues and tones brought from other worlds and creating installations of distilled essences formed out of seemingly everyday objects, natural and man-made. This apothecary, the Pharmacia Poetica, is constantly shifting and expanding, bottles and jars shimmering with metaphors and meaning.
Over the decades Homler and her traveling medicine show have visited the U.S. and Europe weaving a subtle bridge between the mundane and mystical, arriving through March 4 at D.E.N. Contemporary Exhibitions in the Pacific Design Center. Discretely secreted in gallery's Project Room, the current incarnation of Pharmacia Poetica features a treatment room where visitors can interact with the mysterious elixirs-bits of musical scores, hair and other objects, plus tiny ampules filled with fluids-suspended in glass bottles of subtly colored liquids.
These metaphysical nostrums can be observed or experienced through gazing upon them, lit with glowing grace by lighting designer Helen Van der Neer, or by reclining on chaise lounge covered with Elaine Parks tea-dyed comforter relaxing as delicate tonal music floats and the containers' contents and concepts-intended and/or perceived float around the observer/participant through the enclosed alcove. The bottles and their contents allow the viewer to project their imagination, dreams and wishes into them, to invoke or evoke, to cause delight wonder curiosity or to take the viewer deeper into their psyche, as far as they are comfortable.
The room housing the Pharmacia Poetica at D.E.N. provides a place for reflection and contemplation, a different sensory experience than the black and white drawings that for the larger gallery show Staccato featuring four other women artists. The pharmacy's muted sepia tones and watery, rippling shadows and the pieces in Staccato serve to contrast and compliment each other, highlighting the differences and similarities that the imagination calls forth.