Gallese - New Being

Isabella Gallese

New Being

For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in the world around me as well as the people who dwell in it. Through creating art, I allow myself to investigate the human experience and both the extraordinary and mundane aspects of existence. As a graduating Senior in the BFA Studio Art program, my work currently explores themes of identity, femininity, nature, and mortality, often utilizing self-portraiture as a vehicle for self expression and personal catharsis. Through my depictions of self, I consider the power of gaze and question what it means to depict one’s image. At the same time, I am exploring my relationship with myself and my work, and continuously aiming to become the artist I want to be. Some of my primary mediums include oil paint, colored pencil, and graphite, though I also dabble in ballpoint pen, watercolor, gouache, and more. I thoroughly appreciate learning the language of each of these unique mediums, for experimentation with new techniques allows me to make considerate decisions about how to express a particular message or idea. I feel as if taking risks and pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone is especially important to me, particularly because in the past I have often resorted to what is “safe” or “comfortable” in my art-making process.

This piece, New Being, was somewhat indulgent for me. I love colored pencils, and I love traditional portraits, but I wanted to experiment with abstracting certain features or interfering with them. Certain areas of the hair, for example, are omitted, which I found to not only serve as an interesting contrast but also to create the feeling of something being “unfinished” or a work in progress. Similarly, the moths depicted in the piece are juxtaposed over me, but still display a degree of translucency.

This drawing is related to my Senior thesis project, which is a series of paintings containing similar content and revolving around metamorphosis. I feel that being a woman is often tied to the way I experience the world as both an artist and a human being. This work represents the transitory period of becoming something new, and celebrates womanhood and the beauty of ephemerality. I employ moths as a symbol for change and metamorphosis, and feel as if their presence is an important parallel to my own self-representation. I, like the moth, shift and linger in states of being, and eventually become something of my own making.