About the Artist
Ulehla is a San Francisco based artist, puppeteer and goldsmith.
Originally from Tennessee, she lived in Texas, Alabama, Germany,
Georgia, Massachusetts and the Marshall Islands before coming
to California in 1997. She studied painting at Stanford, puppet-making
in Prague and goldsmithing in San Francisco. She worked as a goldsmith
in the studios of Petra Class and Sandra Enterline for five years
and has had her own studio since 2005. She has been making and
performing with marionettes for over a decade in the SF bay area
and Czech Republic. She began performing in San Francisco with
the puppet-music ensemble, Cows for Tuttle and later began developing
shows in collaboration with musicians and composers. She works
with a loosely organized group of collaborators to create live
performances where the puppet and puppeteer are both visible.
About The Inferno
Niki Ulehla's work
on Dante's Inferno continues with a new group of puppets.
She combines traditional carved wooden marionettes with found
object based "toys" to create the characters inhabiting the hell
described by Dante. The puppets will be in action the night of
the opening, with a performance in the gallery. The performance
will begin with the two travelers, Dante and Virgil, crossing
the river Styx. They will pass through the fifth circle of Anger,
the sixth of the Heretics and the seventh of Violence. This portion
of their journey will end riding away on Geyron, the beast of
Niki began the
long-term project of translating Dante's Inferno into
a puppetshow in 2011 during a residency at Recology. During a
four-month period she created puppets and a performance of the
first four circles of the Inferno using materials scavenged
from the Public Disposal Area at Recology. The use of these discarded
materials provided both opportunities for new techniques of construction,
but more conceptually, an afterlife for these objects discarded
from our daily lives.
Niki has been developing the new puppets for over a year and working with her collaborators Renu Cappelli and Petra Class on the development of the action of the show. The performance in February will also be in collaboration with Wobby, the SF based electronic musician, who has created an aural translation of the puppets' journey.
After the opening
night performance, February 22nd, the puppets will be on display
through March 30th. A film of the Inferno by David Driver
will accompany the objects in addition to prints by Ulehla.
here to visit Ms. Ulehla’s website and to view a performance
video of The Inferno (Cantos 1 – 7)