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“Stay calm. It will disappear.
Artist Hazleton Christina Galbiati took those words, which President Donald Trump said earlier this year about the coronavirus, placed them against a bright red and yellow background spiraling into a pit and called out the work of resulting art “Liar, liar”.
“Words matter,” she said in a recent telephone interview, days before an exhibition called “Fortitude”, which will showcase her work and the work of three other artists, is expected to open at the Artists For Art Gallery, Scranton.
“In the digital age, I feel a sense of urgency to create a tangible recording of words,” she said, explaining that she does this by photocopying them in different fonts and making collages.
“Sometimes I take a stand; sometimes I’m more bent, ”she says. “Sometimes that’s a question I ask; my intention is to invite the viewer to question the subject. “
For a large-scale 40 x 40 inch piece titled “We Shall Overcome,” she explained, “I pull words from the Internet and repeat them. My goal is to underline all the words our president has spoken.
Yes, this time she takes a stand.
“It’s ugly, it’s chaotic, and it’s representative of everything we’ve been through,” she described the article, which includes various headlines, snippets and phrases that people will likely recognize, among which “a very stable genius”, “drain the (swamp)” and “(gra) b ’em by the pussy. “
Few would say that this latest comment reflects a lack of respect for women, a sentiment against which Avoca artist HW Yorkonis aims in pieces called “Resist” and “Rape CULTure.”
“I am really fighting for women’s rights,” said Yorkonis, whose work will also be part of the “Fortitude” exhibit. “Sometimes I feel like I have a hard time talking about them, but I can paint about them and talk about the paintings, which makes it easier.”
Among the pieces that she will present at the exhibition, there is “Resist”, a mixed media piece that represents “a woman warrior; she is a survivor of domestic violence and she is here to fight for other abused people, ”said the artist.
In the piece she calls “Rape CULTure,” Yorkonis said, “There are two women, and they are suspended by different objects. One of them has a mirror on her face so you can see yourself there, knowing that you are part of the culture. We are all affected by it. Whether or not we are victimized, chances are we will know someone who has been.
Two other pieces, called “Isolation” and “Contact”, are paintings that Yorkonis had the idea to create this spring, when she failed to spend time with her friends and family, was content with a “Zoom Easter” and wanted to visit New York.
“’Isolation’ is a very large painting, 36×36,” she said. When you see it, your eyes will be drawn to a diagonal line. Under the line, as a backdrop, images of streets and blocks, park benches. I really wanted to go to town, I literally intended to go to New York when the lockdown started. I haven’t been there since the virus hit.
“But there is a small corner of the picture where green and beige represent nature and the outdoors. That’s when they started to say, “Oh, you can go for a walk”. You can see a ray of hope in this corner of the painting.
“Contact”, which Yorkonis associated with “Isolation”, is a painting she describes as “a little brighter” with red-orange representing “the warmth and light of wanting to be with your family” and turquoise representing the security of being inside.
To complete the works of the show “Fortitude”, Monica Noelle (sorry, we could not reach her for an interview) and Brandi Merolla.
Merolla, who lives just 15 miles from Honesdale in Narrowsburg, NY, is no stranger to controversial topics – she describes being taken to marches and protests in New York City and Washington, DC as a child, and her “fracture art” has been shown around the world – but she brings something she considers purely fun to Scranton.
“I took traditional tattoo designs from the 1940s and up and blew them up on a large scale,” she said, explaining how displaying them on Fome-Cor material makes them three-dimensional. “The originals are generally around 2 inches tall and I go up to 4 feet.”
“I’m a big fan of traditional tattoos,” she said, describing some of the categories like romantic imagery, patriotic imagery, animals, nautical and religious symbols and even early cartoons from Pop-Eye.
“I love the purity of the art form; it’s like folk art, and folk art speaks for itself. It’s very basic and pure, ”she said, adding that she had“ a moderate, not head-to-toe amount ”of tattoos on her own body.