'The Fifth Kingdom' Invades Aspen

Aug 10, 2018

Local artist Jody Guralnick’s latest show “The Fifth Kingdom” opens Friday at Skye Gallery in downtown Aspen.

The title is in reference to biology — the "Fifth Kingdom" being the Kingdom of Fungi.


Guralnick’s paintings and sculptures capture what mushrooms, leaves and roots systems look like at a microscopic level. Her art is inspired by the detail that constantly surrounds us in nature.

“For me living here in these extraordinary mountains and this extraordinary landscape, I’ve always been more attracted to the detail than the big picture. I call it rapture of the tiny," said Guralnick.

“The Fifth Kingdom” will be on display through mid-September.

Production intern Ryer Gardenswartz was able to sit down with Jody Gurlanick for a deep dive into her career and "The Fifth Kingdom".

You can also read Guralnick's statemnet on "The Fifth Kingdom" here:

This work functions at the intersection of the world we know, and what we can see if we look closer and closer still, the world of everyday reality, and the larger truths that govern life on this planet. I mingle such forms as rods, spheres, buds, blossoms and leaves that make up our earth, as well as roots and networks that link it all together. This is work that seeks to call attention to the detail; through an accretion of small marks I am replicating large systems and life forms.


I’ve named this show The Fifth Kingdom which is, in taxonomy, the kingdom of Fungi, the kingdom of the great hidden labyrinths of growth and decay that support all life.

I’ve observed lichen growing on rocks, slowly, slowly digesting the minerals from the rock and nutrients from the air and I’ve sought to replicate the universal order and form that that growth takes. I’m interested in the symbiosis of the forest, the connecting and dismantling that goes on in equal parts. We can look at human vascular systems, or brain slices, or the view from an airplane window and see over and over again systems of networks working in partnership. We are attracted to these patterns because they are a part of us. I am painting a vision of pattern and connection.