A Painted Pony Goes To Hollywood

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Gina Clyne Photography via The Hollywood Reporter

In the 17th century miniature horses were bred as pets for nobility, and were one of the rare creatures in King Louis XIV’s menagerie at Versailles. And today? Well there may be a lot more minis amongst us, but they are still receiving first class treatment. At least that is the case here in the heart of Hollywood.

Just a brief walk from the iconic home of the Oscars is the Tif Sigfrids Gallery, which is hosting “A Painted Horse” by Chicago-native artist Joe Sola (with Matthew Chambers, Sayre Gomez, Rudy K. Slobeck, and others) now through August 8, 2015. In this one of a kind attraction, the painted miniature horse, eleven-year-old Riba, roams freely through the gallery space, which has been transformed to look like an old-world, aristocratic home.

Joe Sola’s Coldwater Canyon, 2015. pigment print on fiber based paper. 36 x 30 inches.Edition of 3, 3AP. Courtesy of the artist via The Huffington Post

Sola was inspired to create this exhibit, in part, after acquiring a sincere interest and appreciation for creative pet grooming competitions. This new found love paired well with his early love of the surrealist films of Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel to birth “A Painted Horse.”

To accompany the live show, Sola also produced a series of six photographs of Riba in homes around Los Angeles, as well as in the studio of artist Mary Weatherford, one of which can be seen to the left. These photographs have a particular Dali-esque aesthetic, and give permanence to the creative concept that will be on display at Tif Segfrids for only a short time.

But enough about the art! Let’s get to know the wonderful Riba! Right off the bat, Sola and company want visitors to know that Riba is receiving nothing but the top notch treatment she is accustomed to as part of the show. Viewing hours are limited to the Riba-friendly times of Wednesday – Saturday, 11am – 3pm, with a rest built in from 1 – 2pm. Groups are also limited to four at a time to further keep Riba’s comfort in mind.

While in the gallery, the housebroken Riba enjoys a break from the relentless L.A. summer heat, while munching freely on organic hay from Kansas and organic baby carrots from Sola’s hand. Even the bright colors on her body are created from vegetable-based dyes, specifically designed for safe pet grooming, and easily washed off at the end of the day.

Huffington Post writer, Eric Minh Swenson, captured this video of Riba at work:

In her off hours, Riba is professionally trailered home to family in the San Fernando Valley, which includes three dressage horses, Riba’s companion, a half-zebra, half-donkey named Derek, and, (oh yeah!) “The Office” star Rainn Wilson and his wife Holiday Reinhorn. It just so happens that Sola and Wilson go way back. The two were chemistry partners in high school!

Reinhorn reports that Riba always returns home in a good mood after a day at the gallery, where she is also treated to A-list-style care, including daily Reike treatments and chiropractic care. We should all be so lucky!

Perhaps best of all, during her stint at the gallery, Riba is acting as an ambassador for the horse world. For many coming to see the art, this will be one of just a handful of times they have the opportunity to interact with a real live horse. This is an unexpected gift above and beyond the art, making “A Painted Horse” a one-of-kind experience.

For more on “A Painted Horse” by Joe Sola at the Tif Sigfrids Galley, please visit the gallery website here: Tif Sigfrids.

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