Jen Tough Gallery


April 27 - May 30, 2019

Champagne Reception: Saturday, May 04, 7:00-9:00

RSVP here or email

Join us for a champagne reception for gallery artists Jenny Phillips and Melissa Mohammadi's show, Oscillate. With works using ink washes, pastel, fabric and wax, this show includes a gathering of lushly colored pieces that reference botanical worlds, pattern and time. Perfectly timed with entrance of spring, this is a show is not to be missed.

Gallery Hours

Wednesday - Sunday: 12:00-5:00 | Mon + Tues: closed

Melissa Mohammadi

Place-based reflection and meditative studies of botanical and marine lifeforms are at the heart of my approach to drawing and painting. The progressive acts of labor in the structure of coral, mollusc shells, and ferns remind me of the repeated pulse of mothering and renewal.

I create places to float with, to surrender to - healing reservoirs, deep sea gardens. Somewhere between seductive color washes and linework, and an impenetrable surface is an invitation to be suspended in a new space. 

The rigorously decorative world in my paintings is inspired by 15th and 16th century mille-fleur tapestries, Persian manuscripts, and Renaissance ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ or ‘Wonder Rooms’. I create subtle biological impossibilities - succulents growing alongside shade-loving ferns and corals in the deep sea - in the same way ‘Wonder Rooms’ acted as a microcosm or memory theater. Lush and inviting, these spaces reimagine the natural world, highlight and celebrate diversity - and create immersive and contemplative spaces of respite.

Jenny Phillips

Spring has always been a season associated with growth, creativity and abundance. As I walk through San Francisco during this time of the year I look forward to encounters with vibrant colors, flowers and wildflowers emerge from their winter dormancy. The work I have put together for this show focuses on spring, its intensity of color and feeling, and the different ways that its colors can be gathered and represented. The title of the show, “Oscillate”, hints at the intense visual leaps from one color to the next that we experience during Spring.

“Harvesting color” is reminiscent of cut flowers left hanging on a wall to dry. The strips of color evoke the visual bounty of Spring, and represents an attempt at capturing fleeting colors in order to preserve them for future use.

The Mood Board series explores relationships between colors. Strips of mulberry paper with watercolor and ink washes are juxtaposed with an intense at color, reminiscent of how a textile or graphic designer might choose an accent color, working from different color strips to make a final selection.

The Swatches represent a non-pictorial way of documenting the changing seasons of San Francisco. In the same way that 19th century Entymologists were compelled to collect insect and butter y specimens for display, the swatches represent an urge to collect, juxtapose and display the evolving colors of the City. They are reminiscent of Pantone swatches, an ubiquitous feature of my prior life as a Graphic Designer. Created in the studio rather than in the immediacy of plein-air, the swatches rep- resent memories and impressions rather than actual colors. And unlike Pantone’s opaque color rectangles, the swatches are transparent, allowing the creation of depth through layering, to better express the imprecision of memories.

Finally, the small watercolors titled Flourish and Color Composite studies are the result of a spontaneous, creative and gestural process – one that in and of
itself represents the freedom, spontaneity and flowering associated Spring.