Multimedia Abstract Art - Acrylic, Ink, Pastel, Fabric
State College, PA
My life has been rich with many experiences, involving arts, culinary delights, family and community service. These experiences have formed me into who I am today and fine-tuned my sensibilities in both the process and product of my artistic practice. Consistently, throughout my life, I have found joy and purpose in my creative pursuits while simultaneously devoting myself to family, friends and community. In the early years of raising my five children, I was fortunate enough to take classes in the art education department as a non-degree student at Penn State University with master potter, Dr. Kenneth Beittel. For the next 30 years, I immersed myself in the world of a working artist; teaching ceramic courses for the State College Area Continuing Education Program and exhibiting and selling my sculptural porcelain work at juried festivals and galleries both nationally and internationally. Additionally, I helped to facilitate, sponsor and champion the work of my own children and grandchildren, among whom are painters, muralists, sculptors, art directors and dancers.
I emigrated from Sicily when I was 6 years old, carrying with me the rhythms and depth of the world I left behind. The bright treasures that burst from my mother's sewing box, the sway of the wheat in my father's farm and the wildflowers dotting the Sicilian hillside conjure images in my art work that symbolize the beauty of my homeland. I have kept my family's history and traditions alive by artistically presenting the bounty of
my kitchen, by teaching cooking classes in Italy and in my community, as well as by publishing a cookbook dedicated to my mother. I have always approached my art making in the same way as I approach my cooking; finding the perfect ingredients to create a result that can be delightfully enjoyed by others. In cooking, the empty white plate is my canvas, and I continue to derive great pleasure in the presentation of my culinary
creations. My work in one discipline influences my work in another and regardless of the medium, the colors, textures and surprises are unfinished stories for the beholder to complete. Now, in my 80th year, I have
developed a new body of abstract 2D multimedia artworks that playfully embrace serendipity.
I became interested in printmaking about ten years ago while enrolled in several printmaking classes at Penn State. Yet, it was not until the outbreak of the Covid pandemic that I found the time to explore this new direction. I was no longer teaching cooking classes, researching, testing and developing new recipes. For the first time in my life, I was privileged with unstructured blocks of time and fewer responsibilities to others. I flourished, working alone in my studio for hours on end, surrounded by a wealth of accumulated materials - natural and found objects, acrylics, pastels, pencils, charcoal, fibers, and handmade paper. These materials of my art are significant, infused with meaning and memories from my personal narrative.
During the process of making, I tend to start several paintings simultaneously, layering colors, shapes and patterns and letting spontaneity lead me. My practice is both methodical and impromptu, culminating in an expansive collection of works that I pull from to create my final pieces. After this initial exploration, I step back and listen to each piece, much like one would listen to music, enjoying the layers of complexity that inspire a joyful dance. I then engage in a careful choreography, adding details and embellishments to bring out the individual character of each painting. The layering process is jubilant and extremely instinctual, informed by a life dedicated to creative exploration, perseverance and curiosity. In the finished work, the underlying rhythmic movement is fused together with balance and harmony. I encourage the viewer to move visually through the work, settling on the small bits of bright energized information and lingering for a moment on these nuanced and playful components that unify the composition. It is my hope that each participant will find their own connection to my work as it unfolds before them, inviting them into a realm of spontaneity, movement, and possibility.