Gianna Commito & Giselle Hicks: In Place

July 10 – August 9, 2020

Installation view (Gianna Commito, Giselle Hicks)
Installation view (Giselle Hicks)
Installation view (Giselle Hicks)
Gianna Commito
Doak, 2016
Casein and marble dust ground on panel
24 x 30″
Gianna Commito
Court, 2014
Casein and marble dust ground on panel
24 x 20 ″
Installation view (Gianna Commito, Giselle Hicks)
Gianna Commito
Untitled, 2017
Watercolor and casein on paper
17.75 x 13.75″
Installation view (Giselle Hicks)

About the Exhibition

Harvey Preston Gallery is pleased to present a two-person exhibition, In Place, featuring works by Gianna Commito and Giselle Hicks. Although the artists utilize different mediums, both have practices rooted in physicality and share a material commonality—an intuitive interaction with material and process—that can be traced back to their education in ceramics. Despite attending Alfred University at different times, the artists eventually came to know each other and this exhibition marks the first opportunity to view their works together.

The title of the show, In Place, is reflective of our time in both the physical and mental realm. While we were sheltered, surroundings once familiar and perhaps taken for granted became studied again, new meanings and appreciations developed. As the radius of our ‘in place’ circle narrowed, a new structure, routine, and way of being was born.

For Hicks this led to the creation of the large sphere forms presented in the exhibition. Simple in shape to the eye, they are technically quite challenging to make and require, or rather demand, complete attention and focus. The process is intimate, meditative, and grounding. This relates to her work as a whole, which is meant to find its place in the home, either in a grouping as part of a still life composition, or as an individual object. The shapes are inspired by iconic forms found throughout ceramic history and are an exploration in volume and proportion. They are meant to be generous, stable, strong and soft in character—their intention underpinned by the pursuit of beauty.

Gianna Commito’s paintings reference our physical and emotional engagement with the built environment. As images, they are meant to fold, envelop, and ricochet the viewer, consciously reinforcing the edges and boarders that define passages within the paintings, while recognizing the image as a discreet space—not part of a larger landscape. As objects, they are similar in scale to windows, windshields, mirrors, the screens of digital devices—all various rectangles that frame the physical and virtual worlds we move through constantly, seemingly highlighted during this time. The work collapses and expands through intuition, iteration, light and shadow. The materials—casein paint, marble dust, watercolor, ink—drive the imagery, creating a kind of call and response, the work telling Commito what it wants to be from the inside out.

Gianna Commito earned a BFA from Alfred University and an MFA from the University of Iowa. A selection of recent exhibitions include Lucien Terras Gallery, New York; Heaven Gallery, Chicago; Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia; The Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH; MOCA Cleveland, Cleveland, OH; National Academy, New York; the Drawing Center, New York; and the inaugural edition of the FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art in Cleveland, OH. Commito is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the Ohio Arts Council Award; the Cleveland Art Prize; Artist in Residence at Yaddo, the McDowell Colony, and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art; and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. Gianna is represented by Rachel Uffner Gallery in New York, and she lives and works in Kent, OH.

Originally from Southern California, Hicks received her BFA from Syracuse University and her MFA from Alfred University in New York. She has participated in various artist-in-residence programs including the Anderson Ranch Art Center, the Arts/Industry Program at the Kohler Company, The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, Greenwich House and The Archie Bray Foundation. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The John Michael Kohler Art Center, the Bellevue Art Museum, the Southwest School of Art, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Giselle currently lives and works in Helena, Montana.

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