Jacqueline Cordova's mystical collages approach spiritual healing

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Jacqueline Sophia Cordova wants to redefine the natural world. "I feel like so many people drive by in their cars, or walk by with their phones," she says, pointing out people doing just that, "and they forget how magical everything is. So when nature is represented in a surreal fashion -- in an otherworldly way -- people can take a second look and see their home, their creator, in a different light. And hopefully gain some appreciation for it."

That's the lofty ambition of Cordova's new show, .energy.void.matter, that opens this Saturday at 3 Little Birds Salon, and features her mystical collages assembled with paint, magazine clippings and recycled Chocolove foil.

In the course of our conversation with Cordova, she explained that she was just coming off a two-month raw-food fast, when she'd avoided any form of cooked food. This sort of subject -- while not typical of an artist interview -- is inseparable from Cordova's work. Her pieces have an intimate, Tolkien-esque feel that project a worldview steeped in mythical spirituality, something that is entwined with both her art and life. "When I create, it's coming from a place of conscious energy," she says. "There's energy in everything: this table, your tape recorder. And my artwork is an extension of that."

"It would be the greatest blessing in the world to know that my artwork is helping to heal someone," Cordova continues. "Or to calm them, to invigorate them, to inspire them. To me the greatest emotion we can experience is inspiration. Because that's what gives us the will to keep going, to keep creating. We're all creative beings, and it doesn't have to be art. It could be a scientist exploring the depths of the human experience." Beyond her collage art, Cordova works as a licensed practitioner of Reiki -- a form of spiritual medicine utilizing a balancing of energy -- as well as a gardener and jewelry designer; her pieces are available at Ironwood Collection. About two years ago she began her collage, mixed media artwork, which is always done by hand (she shyly confesses to being computer illiterate) and pulls from a wild grab-bag of materials. With her long dark hair, Cordova's elfish, Joanna Newsom-style appearance -- combined with a blindingly cheery disposition -- is a comfortable companion to her FernGully art and message of spiritual healing. A Colorado native, Cordova lived in various parts of the country before returning to Denver for the creative community. "I love the art scene in Denver," she says. "I feel like there are so many little paths branching out from the main hub: You have the Santa Fe scene -- which is kind of frou-frou, hoity-toity -- and then there's the DIY scene, but there's always going to be art that blows your mind. There's a home in the art world here that's very welcoming. I feel very embraced." A reception for Jacqueline Sophia Cordova's .energy.void.matter. starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, August 11, at 3 Little Birds Salon, located at 837 East 17th Avenue. There will also be live mural painting by Patrick McGirr as well as music by DJs boyhollow and Blankwave.

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