10th year of ‘Art Inter/National Exhibition’ has the widest palette yet
Now in its 10th year, Box Heart Gallery’s “Art Inter/National Exhibition” continues to grow in scope and scale, currently filling the small gallery in Bloomfield to the brim with many remarkable works of contemporary art.
This time, the gallery received 295 entries from nearly a dozen countries, in many ways rivaling the prestigious Carnegie International, which was the inspiration for such an exhibit a decade ago when gallery co-owners Nicole Capozzi and Joshua Hogan decided to undertake what has become their most ambitious program to date.
Of these entries, 20 artists from nine countries were selected for participation and 29 works of art in a variety of media are on display. And each, in their own way, says a lot about the artist’s immediate environment, how it impacts their artistic process and influences what they create.
“We strive to recognize that artists make art for different reasons and from different experiences,” Capozzi says. “Where they live and what they make says a lot about who they are as artists.”
For example, many of the artists draw inspiration from the scenery that is the backdrop to their everyday lives. “Sun Day Light Never Done” by Scott Nelson Foster of Latham, N.Y., is a painting that is a documentary of sorts of the lower-income housing he sees in rural upstate New York, where he works as an assistant professor of studio art at Siena College. “These utilitarian dwellings express most succinctly the relationship between home, society and the land,” he writes in his statement regarding his latest body of work, which includes oil paintings and watercolors of trailer park homes and other cheap housing alternatives favored by the rural poor.
The abstract works of Ernesto Lozada-Uzuriaga Steele, a Peruvian-born artist-priest who lives in the rural southeast of England, reveals both the richness of his native culture and the influence of Western tradition. His brightly hued paintings “Olive Tree II” and “Olive Tree III” are real standouts in this exhibit for their unique combination of texture and color, which creates a sense of high drama from otherwise-simple shapes.
Combining model-making with photography, Nadim Sabella of Oakland, Calif., creates photographs that transform familiar places into strange and mysterious landscapes. His piece “In a Fog” calls to mind San Francisco’s famous “Painted Ladies” — the colorful and frequently photographed Victorian homes that sit next to Alamo Square — while referencing natural disasters and the current climate change debate. This piece, with its downed power lines and flooded foundations, is a rumination on constant change, instability and man’s inability to control the elements.
In similar technical fashion, Philippine artist Michael Vincent Manalo combines craft with photography to create allegorical imagery. His piece “Tales from the Hidden Attic” is based on a room in the attic of his home in Manila, but it focuses on the process of creation, interpreting a multitude of thoughts and feelings related to the creative process. Thus, as he writes in his statement, the piece illustrates “the space or the area that one occupies upon creation.”
While many of the works represent real places, some environments are imagined. An overwhelming dreamscape (both in color and design) by self-taught artist Dorothea Sarteschi, who hails from Harrisburg, displays what she calls “An Upside Down World, Whichever Way is Up?,” which is also the title of the work. In her statement she writes, “It is an emotional roller coaster of pictorial drama of the most commonplace intimacies of life — a visual phrase in living color.” It’s a big bold statement about how each of us views the world and a reminder that those views are rarely the same and always changing.
With her intricate and equally delicate mixed media drawing “Nest,” Laura Tanner provides a place of rest among the topsy-turvy environmentally inspired works on display. Originally from Atlanta, Tanner is currently pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Illinois in Champaign. Her piece speaks of places in transition, offering a “nest” in which each viewer can discover their own patterns within her entanglement. Incorporating an amalgam of relatable images, each is drawn from her own recollections of past events or associations with things familiar, thus incorporating her memories into the ever-changing present.
“The drawings function as a sort of memoir or documentation,” she writes, “a method for coping with the loss of a disappearing landscape or the intense longing for an intangible space.”
Capozzi says an underlying theme among much of the works on display is the concept that “nature and human nature are intertwined.” Perhaps this piece represents that more than any other.
‘The 10th Annual Art Inter/National Art Exhibition’
What: An international exhibit of contemporary art featuring works by 20 artists from nine countries
When: Through Jan. 29. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays
Where: Box Heart Gallery, 4523 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield
Details: 412-687-8858 or www.boxheart.org