Occhiogrosso’s art reflects pandemic, women in her family – The Daily Gazette

It’s the perfect time to visit Gina Occhiogrosso’s exhibition ‘Surfacing’, which recently opened at the Capital Region Arts Centre.

Sure, it’s a timely exhibition with works created over the past five years, some of which relate to the pandemic; others focus on the boundaries between fine arts and crafts and the feminine in contemporary painting.

On another, simpler level, the vibrant and luminous colors used by Occhiogrosso are exactly what the eyes of those enduring a bleak winter in the capital region yearn for. Even when the context of the pieces is dark or touches on a harsh reality, the tactility and liveliness of her work is a grounding force.

Occhiogrosso, a Troy resident and Niskayuna native, covers a large area with “Surfacing” through a wide range of media including painting, assemblage, sketches and video.

One of the first pieces viewers encounter is Cascade, an abstract painting made from pieces of polyester sewn together. The stitches create boundaries between the white tubular shapes and the lime green background of the work, referencing the tension between fine arts and crafts.

In another painting nearby, titled Tomorrow Will Be Different, the lines between each piece of muslin that make up the canvas are even more clearly defined, and uneven diamond shapes are scattered throughout the foreground of the piece.

Nearby, another painting shows sections of gray and white muslin sewn together with dark red thread. Circles of thickly applied paint float through the work.

“I was greatly influenced by the work of the women in my family,” Occhiogrosso writes in an artist statement. “My paternal grandmother, an Italian immigrant, was a seamstress and my maternal grandmother, an Austrian immigrant, made very intricate lacework [tatting] for tablecloths and other linen.”

Elsewhere in the exhibition, the artist reflects on her experiences during the pandemic. In one of the larger assemblages entitled “5. December – February 7th, 2020” are painted shopping bags layered on top of each other in a geometric pattern. Collection labels are visible on each bag, some with the word “Fragile” scrawled across them. In a similar work nearby, Occhiogrosso takes to-go boxes from various restaurants, unfolds them and paints them in shades of green, yellow, red and white.

At the center of the exhibition are two accordion sketchbooks, both fanned out on curved platforms. In one, dubbed “Morgan Avenue,” Occhiogrosso shows the inside of her childhood home and the experience of living in it during the pandemic, with a TV showing the total number of cases. It’s an intimate piece and it’s easy to relate to the nostalgia and feeling of cabin fever evoked in the rough sketches.

“Surfacing” is on view through March 11 and there will be an artist reception during Troy Night Out on Friday, January 28 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m

Another exhibit entitled Screenbathing by Adam Tinkle opens Thursday in the Arts Center‘s foyer and black box theater. It examines the lives we lead on and off screens and the light that screens cast on our lives. It will last until February 12th.

The opening hours of the gallery are Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit artscenteronline.org for more information.

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Categories: art, life and art

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