Photos courtesy of Jason Chen
Confections & Mementos, a group exhibition featuring four national female artists Lori Larusso, Tara Barr, Nicci Sevier-Vuyk, and Lydia Ricci. Inspired by personal histories, time, and the idea of beauty, Confections & Mementos highlights each artist's unconventional approach to still-life and observational art. The everyday object, physical labor, and imperfect memories are just a few of the subjects depicted in the show. How do we perceive and process beauty in today's culture? What does it mean to perform labor as a woman in today's world of contemporary art? How can we pay tribute to our pasts and experiences, both shared and personal?
Lori Larusso makes paintings and painting installations that explore issues of class
and gender and how both reflect and shape culture. She has exhibited her work widely in the US and abroad and it is included in numerous public and private collections. Lori has been awarded numerous residency fellowships including Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Sam & Adele Golden Foundation, Art + History Museums Maitland, chaNorth, and MacDowell where she received a Milton and Sally Avery Fellowship. She is a recipient of the Kentucky Arts Council’s Al Smith Fellowship, multiple grants from the Great Meadows Foundation and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Lori is the 2019 Kentucky South Arts Fellow and is the recipient of the 2020 Fischer Prize for Visual
Art. Lori Larusso earned an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and a BFA from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). She currently
Pictured: Lori Larusso, Revenge of the Deserted Possibilities, Acrylic on 6 panels, 80 x 48”
lives and works in Louisville, Kentucky and is represented by Galleri Urbane in Dallas, TX.
“I create paintings and installations that explore the pageantry, etiquette and contradiction embedded in domesticity and food culture. Personal and shared histories, truths and myths all provide inspiration for these works that simultaneously confirm and falsify existing systems of belief. The images I create allude to events or actions that are about to, or might have, taken place. While the specifics of the circumstance are dependent on context; color, shape, scale, and texture act as pockets of information or innuendo.More broadly, I aim to communicate care and reverence for the everyday, inanimate objects that shape our existence. The cut-out painted panels carefully crafted by hand allude to the skill and physical labor involved in domestic chores such as food preparation and cleaning, and the (invisible) labor of caregiving. The flatness of the two-dimensional painted object speaks to the accessibility of idea and association, and the unattainable or fleeting nature of continued gratification.”
Tara Barr is an oil-painter and artist based in Alexandria, Virginia. “The body of work that I’ve created over the past three years explores themes of nostalgia and technology. In my other career as a technology professional, I have to be very mindful of the ways in which our everyday experiences are shaped by the design of the devices we interact with. I have also learned to appreciate my place in the long history of women working in the technology industry. I carry those interests and lessons with me into my art career. My artwork draws attention to and elevates the great design of the objects that have filled our lives and live in our memories. I invite others to reflect on their own personal and family histories and to consider that our shared experiences connect us to one another. I gravitate towards subjects related to technology and industrial design, finding as much beauty in meticulously designed and manufactured items as others may find in a landscape or portrait. In everything I create, I consider how my perspective as a woman and a mother informs my visual vocabulary. I seek to challenge expectations of what a female artist’s work should look like and how her career should be structured.”
Pictured: Tara Barr, Pyrex Collection, Oil on canvas,12 x 12”
Nicci Sevier-Vuyk is an American artist known for her colorful, realistic acrylic paintings of iconic objects in American culture. Her work is fueled by her interest in the conflict between appearance, its meaning in culture, and substance. The stereotypes of beauty and playful sense of irony are main themes in her paintings. Nicci has painted throughout her life and after a career as a pediatric nurse practitioner she began her art practice full-time. She has attended The Glassell
School of Art in Houston, but is, for the most part, a self-taught artist. Nicci has had two solo exhibitions and has been included in many juried exhibitions. She has twice been featured on The Jealous Curator’s blog. Born in northern California, Nicci creates her work and has made her home in Southborough, Massachusetts.
“I have always been confused by society’s message regarding beauty. I first noticed
the conflict between appearance and experience in childhood. I distinctly remember
seeing items that looked appealing, like some candies for instance, but did not deliver a pleasant experience. The lens of nostalgia, childhood memories and familiar objects allow me to investigate the contradictions I find in society’s definition of what is desirable. My work is a playful reflection of the stereotypes
surrounding beauty and appearance.”
Pictured: Nicci Sevier-Vuyk, Flame Charger, Acrylic on canvas, 6 x 12”
Lydia Ricci is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. In addition, Ricci studied design in St Gallen, Switzerland and printmaking in Cortona, Italy. She works as an artist outside of Philadelphia, PA and teaches courses in design and storytelling at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Her sculpture has been exhibited in galleries in New York, California, Marfa & Dallas TX, Boston and Philadelphia, and featured in publications including The NYTimes, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, McSweeney’s and Vice. She has animated two short films which have screened at the San Francisco, Mill Valley and Philadelphia Film Festivals.
Somewhere between her time as a graphic designer in San Francisco, her travels to Italy to study printmaking, and starting a family outside Philadelphia, Lydia Ricci learned to deal with some of the more stressful aspects of life by looking to the past. Her tiny mementos (don’t call them miniatures), are objects that relate to a visceral memory – an intense phobia, or maybe an experience that changed her life. Their resemblance to the original is uncanny, while veering far away from the meticulous technique of model replicas, built to some fraction of scale. These works aren’t as much scientific as they are tiny tributes. Each piece is sized to exactly how big the object, and the memory needs to be; and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Made from paper, glue, broken staples, and the back-side of almost anything, her collage-like sculptures of everyday objects aren’t precious or precise, but rather rough-and-ready approximations that somehow feel more true than exact recreations. They’re messy and imperfect — just like our memories.
Pictured: Lydia Ricci, I’m Fine Standing, Scrap materials, 3.5 x 5 x 1.5”
Pictured: Lydia Ricci, Time to Mow, Scrap materials
1 x 4 x 1.5”