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Meryl Pataky
The artist posing with her palm trees

As far as we?re concerned, the star of this year?s Art Basel was not Leonardo DiCaprio or Banksy?s "Red Hook Balloon." It was Meryl Pataky?s neon ?Traveling Palm Tree.?

The Mission-based artist?s battery-powered work of art--part of a larger exhibit--made the rounds in Miami, lighting up the South Beach sand, posing with gallery girls and hopping aboard a Rolls-Royce.

Luckily, you can witness her electric installations right here in the Bay Area. Some of Pataky?s work is currently on display at the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, where she embeds her neon signs in beautifully juxtaposed natural greenery. In one of our favorite such installations, she nestled the glowing words In the forest silent, whatever happens happens into a vertical garden.

Pataky?s process is far more scientific than it may appear: She bends glass tubing with burners, filling them with noble gases like helium, hooks them up with electrodes--and plugs them in, of course.

Next up, Pataky?s luminous work will be at the Gauntlet Gallery in March. Trust us, this is one artist whose work you literally can?t miss.

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