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Elisa D’Arrigo’s multimedia works at Bannister Gallery Oct. 6-Nov. 2

For its second show of the fall season, Bannister Gallery will feature the works of Elisa D’Arrigo, a multimedia artist from New York City who regularly exhibits at the Elizabeth Harris Gallery there. The exhibition will take place from Oct. 6-Nov. 2, with an opening reception on Oct. 6 from 5-8 p.m.

Elisa D'Arrigo, 'Reconstructed 5' (2009). (Image courtesy of Elizabeth Harris Gallery, NYC.)
Using incremental processes and (at times intense) color, D’Arrigo has created a body of work that incorporates aspects of sculpture, painting and drawing.

For some 25 years she has produced work that although largely abstract, alludes to the body, nature, and personal memory. Specific memories, which are held in mind, sometimes for decades, underlie many of these works, and partially determine its particular character and color.

D’Arrigo has commented, “Attempting to conjure a mental image into a physical object is an elusive process due to the fugitive, constantly shifting nature of memory. A work in progress could evolve for months (even years); expanding, contracting, even recombining with cast off parts of itself.”

For this artist, however, memories are only points of departure. It is the physical process of making the work that takes over and has a life of its own. Manipulating materials, and how that results in particulars of form and configuration, is what ultimately determines each piece.

Her pieces are constructed by hand-sewing together many, sometimes hundreds of flat units or hollow forms made of laminated, acrylic saturated cloth (often recycled clothing) and/or paper. The tension and puckering created by sewing together the rigid components transforms them into structures that billow as if animated from within.

D’Arrigo sees these undulations as a chance product of the sewing process. Her responses to such unplanned effects plot the trajectory of each work. Her objective is to stay in the moment, mindful of accident and chance, responding to what unfolds.

In a catalog essay accompanying a 2003 exhibition at the Elizabeth Harris Gallery, critic Jonathan Goodman noted, “In her need to find a voice for the silent workings of nature, its slow movement across time, the artist has authored a process rather than a completion of form. Her ‘ever-growing configuration’ begins small but ends up by being large, in all the meanings of the adjective.”

Gallery hours during exhibits are Tuesday through Friday, noon to 8 p.m. Exhibits and events are free and open to the public. Accessible to persons with disabilities. For information on event dates and exhibit opening receptions, check the website at www.ric.edu/Bannister or call (401) 456-9765.