Closing Celebration of Dena Novak | Fearlessly Weighted Artist Talk with Ted Meyer followed by RhythmTrance

2525 Michigan Ave, Suite #A2, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Jan 29, 5 PM - 9 PM — ends Jan 29, 2023
Artist Talk at 6:00 pm: Dena Novak speaks about with Ted Meyer, Artist, Writer, Curator & Artist Patient Advocate.
RhythmTrance at 7:00 pm: Greg Ellis returns to bG Gallery for his third time sharing his mesmerizing and enervating improvisational percussive performance called RhythmTrance.

Donations are welcome for the evening and will support The Simone Gad Foundation which supports artists with unique challenges to find footing in the art world.
More information at

“People with EDS struggle daily with the thinning of the proteins and collagens that hold our bones in place. I am not interested in the illusion of space but in the materiality of paint. The finite area of the picture plane compresses the physical and emotional experience of making the work, offering a vital expression of being fully present and alive through the act of painting.” - Dena Novak

bG Gallery is pleased to present the closing celebrations of Dena Novak's first solo exhibition, Fearlessly Weighted. Supported by the Simone Gad Foundation's Exhibition Program, this body of work presents a found freedom for the artist that is both harmonious and unleashed. This series manifests in Dena’s work as an intuitive, ritualistic process meditating, dancing and of layering oil paint onto panels in thick strata that symbolically counteracts the thinning of her body’s connective tissue.
In the 1980s, Novak was influenced by second-and third-wave feminism. In our tumultuous early 2020s, her work continues to critique ideas of “the feminine” and the subjectivity of beauty through an autobiographical lens that includes her chronic physical illnesses. She uses heavy impasto oil paints to work in deep layers. These paintings challenge conceptions of beauty and investigate ideas of hope, fear, and transcendence through her experience of living with both Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and Autism.
For each painting that she created, Dena took the pallet from which it was made, and created a
sculptural creation on an accompanying paint can—these can be seen throughout the gallery space.
Dena Novak is a painter, teacher, mother, and advocate for Autism and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) awareness based in Los Angeles, CA. She was born and raised in Chicago, where she studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before transferring to Colorado College to complete her undergraduate studies in fine art. While working on her Master of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis on Art Education at Tufts/Museum School, Novak experimented with ceramics alongside her continued painting practice. In 2021, she presented a one-person exhibition of her paintings that was accompanied by a panel discussion addressing her art and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome as part of the Keck School of Medicine’s HEAL Presents Art & Medicine program at the University of Southern California. Novak was awarded the Inaugural Exhibition Program Award by the Simone Gad Foundation, Los Angeles, CA for her exhibition at bG Gallery in January 2023. Since 2003, she has been an art teacher working with children and adult learners.
Ted Meyer is a nationally recognized artist, curator and patient advocate who helps patients, students and medical professionals see the positive in the worst life can offer. Ted’s decades long project “Scarred for Life: Mono-prints of Human Scars” chronicles the trauma and courage of people who have lived through accidents and health crises.
Ted seeks to improve patient/physician communications and speaks about living as an artist with illness. Telling stories about his own art and the stories behind his scar art collection, he offers insight into living with pain, illness, and disfigurement. Ted has been featured on NPR and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today. His work has been displayed internationally in museums, hospitals, and galleries. As the Artist in Residence at USC Keck School of Medicine, Ted curates exhibitions of artwork by patients whose subject matter coincides with medical school curriculum. Ted has curated shows by artists challenged by MS, cancer, germ phobias, back pain, and other diseases. He is a Visiting Scholar at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, is a graduate of the Aspen Leadership Seminars, was the 2017 Sterling Visiting Professorship at Stanford University and has been TEDMED mainstage speaker. Find out more at
Greg Ellis is one of the most innovative and versatile drummers in the world. He crosses multiple genres of music from Indian classical to rock and roll, he performs and records with musical artists from over 30 countries including Zakir Hussain, Mickey Hart, Kodo, Sussan Deyhim, Yungchen Lhamo and Juno Reactor.
He has released numerous critically acclaimed albums and is a passionate advocate on the healing and therapeutic properties of rhythm and drumming. Ellis founded RhythmPharm to encourage the importance of organic rhythm and frequency through recordings and live sessions. He has presented seminars, lectures and events on the topic at various conferences and institutions around the world. Greg is also working on a book and documentary called “The Click” which explores the effects both physically and psychologically of removing ourselves from our sense of natural time, and submitting to a world completely controlled by the clock.