Gina Occhiogrosso: Heroic Femininity

An Introduction by Mary Kathryn Jablonski

To find an artist whose work is at once both exciting and calming is rare. I like to imagine this is what artist Gina Occhiogrosso experiences during the creative process; of course, I may be wrong. What I do know for certain is that this artist is devoted to her studio practice, as evidenced in her prolific portfolio of varied works, including many paintings of substantial size and projects requiring profound commitment. Each arena of her creativity, demonstrated by her website, feeds another. Explore not only her paintings titled “Mediations,” but also her work in “Constructions,” as well as works on paper, collage, and other projects including take-out boxes, accordion books and more. The intelligence and “heroic femininity” mentioned in her artist’s statement, rich with process notes, sings through the words and the work.


An Artist Statement by Gina Occhiogrosso

I am a painter whose work is composed not only through the application of wet color on a surface, but through processes of disassembly and realignment, and the incorporation of common, everyday materials like thread and yarn. These activities and elements allow me to explore anxiety, loss, humor and heroic femininity.

The hallowed and often masculinized tradition of painting is subverted in my work through a repeated process of cutting and then sewing painted surfaces together to develop new forms, dynamic connections and illusions of depth. Where these freshly stitched edges join, there is a seam, which has both linear and sculptural qualities. The seam acts as a geometric disrupter of curvy ellipses and other organic forms that are carefully rendered and then carved up with alternating precision and chance. The ghost of those cut edges has its own subtle presence. Where the fabric overlaps in the reverse of the painting, a slightly more opaque path is traced, issuing a new element whose origin is not at first apparent to the viewer.

I am interested in developing a surface that’s full of the suggestive qualities that abstraction can create. The stitched paintings supply this through the deliberate recalibration of shapes and their relationships to one another. In parallel to these, and often in service to them, collage becomes an important method for revealing new, unexpected interpretations of form. The sources of the collaged materials are often photographs of real things and places that hold meaning for me. As in the paintings, that information is disrupted and reinterpreted in compositions that suggest the fleeting nature of forces, figures and time.