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A nourishing exhibition in development with Michelle Gagliano

Artists Michelle Gagliano and Beatrix Ost are collaborating on a body of work in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic. Inspired by the differing narratives in one another’s work, the artists aim to listen and respond to each other, similar to the “call and response” arrangement found in jazz music. The culmination of their collaboration will result in multiple works created together, as well as their individual work juxtaposed and exhibited together. Conscious of how few female artist collaborations there have been in the past 50 years, Gagliano and Ost are having a “conversation” through the shared canvas. While Ost’s work belongs to the surrealists, Gagliano’s work belongs to the abstracted landscape. The combination of the two narratives makes visible their connection on canvas and sculpture. 

Collaboration as an Act of Intimacy: The vision is to show the connectedness between humans and nature - the psychological  influence of the seasons, and the power of two minds. Many of the collaborative paintings were created using a technique that artists  call “Cadaver Exquisite” to create together in a chamber of intimate respect. Ost and Gagliano would pass paintings back and forth  without explanation or instruction - for a common thought of impact.  

These works celebrate humans and nature in all in that shared unspeakable yearning of survival. The vision of this exhibition is a  teaching one. Gagliano is the alchemist of light and Ost is the visionary of the future. The exhibition opens in the abstract and falls into  surrealism as a manifest of surprise, into the museum’s catalog of our mind. Reality is the only moment that is true; everything else is  surreal.  

Daring to Be, daring to Become. Anger is a tremendous energy source; some use it as a fire to burn and destroy, others use it as fuel to  build and ignite. But, the beauty of sitting with an empty mind, there is no place an artist would rather be than here, and now, so the  artist can see herself where they all together are. The exhibition will include five parts, plus an introductory entrance space. The number  5 represents many aspects in life - the human body and our physical world (5 major continents). 5 major color themes are also  throughout many of the works.  

The complete installation includes over 90 artworks. This exhibition is a completely immersive experience that also embraces all of the  other four senses beyond the visual. Though not interactive, the sense of touch is represented by the vibrant textures of the works both  as sculptural installations and paintings. There is also an audio soundtrack playing in each of the rooms - seducing the sense of sound  with a symphony of music and nature sounds. For the sense of smell the natural scent of roses from rose oil will fill the experience. For  taste, images of food and sculptural food items will be presented- real dried mushrooms and real baked bread. 

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Room 1 // The Promise

In this darkened room, the floor is covered with black rice, which is a historical allusion to the Chinese tradition of Emperor’s forbidden black rice which was only available to the upper class. Gilded objects from nature like stones and sticks are buried in the rice. We want to offer this plentiful rice as nourishment to all children. Five gilded children’s chairs sit in the center. Five is a recurring motif throughout the exhibition: five continents, colors of the Olympic flag, and parts of the human body. The chairs and rice create a hopeful tableau. But, gilded branches above cast a shadow over them. Paintings from the “Nature Nurture” series are on the walls. 

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Room 1 - Collection

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In “Symbiotic Tango”, our conversation continues with a continuing path of black rice with five additional gilded wooden chairs and objects from nature. Around the room are 5 sets of 9 paintings - titled “Symbiotic Tango”.The five chairs once sitting in serenity in the previous room have now tumbled askew. The seats of humanity are now at level with the rice and objects of nature. This room also holds a collection of five groups of nine paintings, each made with one color of the Olympic flag. Hidden within the abstract paintings are endless treasures and situations. The work required to interpret each scene practices the viewer to look deeper into nature itself, and the endless treasures hidden there. The title of each panel of each work completes a unique poem for each set of 5 paintings.

Room 2 // Symbiotic Tango

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Room 2 - Collection