Chinatown Soup is delighted to present Transcending, physical, an exhibition of new work from the artist’s well-traveled series, The Birth of an Idea accompanied by mixed media sculptures, paintings, and sketches. There will be collaborative programming on the 19th in observance of May as Mental Health Month.  

Growing up on a silk sericulture farm in rural Bulgaria shaped Kubler’s creative practice. “I must have been around five-years old, sitting under one of the trees in my grandparents’ mulberry forest, when I discovered silk cocoons,” Kubler recalls from inside her current Chinatown studio (coincidentally a block from Mulberry Street), where she is surrounded by rectangular painted canvases featuring sculpted and colored silk cocoon mandalas from her “Birth of an Idea” series. 

The mandala image is a symbol associated with healing powers of the Sacred Feminine that catalyzed psychic awakening dating back to the Apollonian Oracle of Delphi. In this sense, Kubler’s repurposed chrysalides become talismans of biological transformation that channel ancient rituals of inspiration—fitting for an artist whose grandmother emigrated from neighboring Greece.  

Silk worms pass their lives in a state of silent spinning. After they consume mulberry leaves, the worms turn over 10,000 times for ten days to produce the wispy white shells that Kubler reclaims for her work. Unlike traditional silk production that kills growing moths in utero, she respects the full-circle creation cycle and waits until the moths leave their cocoons to lay eggs before collecting them as art materials. Kubler’s sensitivity to the consciousness of these creatures echoes the intention of her practice. “I insist that my artworks do not convey meanings but instead awake feelings,” Kubler says. “Feelings are stronger than meanings, as meanings reduced to words are often futile. I aim to introduce to the viewer the passion of tactile experience, which I feel when I am producing. So the artworks are filled with sensualities and possibilities. I name them half-objects.” 

The resulting half-object paintings are kaleidoscopic—at once geometric and ordered but also subversive in their use of color. This immersive aesthetic combines with the works’ sculptural elements to elicit what Kubler calls “imaginative touch.” Visual and visceral freedom begets spatial freedom, and, as Kubler’s dual-perspective artist signature suggests, her works are meant to hang horizontally, vertically, on the ceiling, floating in the air and as singles or in groups. After birth, comes play. The experiential effect of Kubler’s work is recognized by many and included in the "Placebos for Art" project undertaken by the Behring Institute for Medical Research in the Netherlands that seeks to improve people’s health through art. 

Ida Ivanka Kubler is an artist living and creating in Chinatown, New York. She has exhibited in Bulgaria, Germany, France, UK, Norway, and elsewhere in the USA. Her work can be found in collections around the world. Kubler attended the National Academy of Arts, Sofia, Bulgaria, the University of Applied Arts, Bielefeld, Germany and the Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, UK. 

Chinatown Soup