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‘Staging Injustice’ Italian Art Show Opening At CIMA – Forbes



The Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA), a New York City-based public non-profit dedicated to presenting modern and contemporary art to international audiences, will present Staging Injustice. This group show covers Italian painting and sculpture from 1880 through 1917. Most of the artists’ work included in Staging Injustice has never been exhibited in the States before including Ambrogio Alciati, Adriana Bisi Fabbri, Antonio Carminati, Achille D’Orsi, Raffaello Gambogi, Giuseppe Mentessi and Luigi Nono. CIMA was founded in 2013 by Laura Mattioli, who has curated all of the exhibitions up until 2018. Mattioli currently serves as the President of the Center’s Board of Directors.

Staging Injustice contains four themes that are as timely for the current moment as they were for artists in a similar period of upheaval over a century ago. These topics include migration, labor, protest and social injustice. The show will be on view from January 25th through June 18th and features around 20 artworks from Italian museums and private collections. It is curated by Giovanna Ginex, an independent art curator and historian based in Milan. Ginex specializes in different aspects of nineteenth and twentieth-century art, including painting, sculpture, photography and design. She has collaborated with institutions around the world.

Forbes spoke with Ginex about her process of curating Staging Injustice. We also discussed what excites her most about the art from this period in history and how she feels it connects to the current moment.

Risa Sarachan: What was your process of selecting these particular artworks to be used in the exhibition?

Giovanna Ginex: Migration, labor, protest, and social injustice are the fields of intervention that marked the reality of the artists at the center of CIMA’s exhibition Project. The Italian artistic production of the period considered – between 1880 and 1917 – is characterized by a large number of artists sensitive to social issues. To present a reasoned selection of artists and works to the CIMA international public, I followed three main criteria: the absolute quality of the works; their representativeness in the context of social Italian painting and sculpture at the time of their execution; the fact that they are currently held by important Italian museums or foundations.

Sarachan: How did you get involved with this kind of work?

Ginex: As an art historian, I have been involved for many years in the study of artistic production and, more generally, in the visual arts between the end of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. As a curator, too, I focus my work particularly on social themes and the dissemination of reproduced images. When, more than two years ago, Laura Mattioli asked me for a project to present Italian social art to the CIMA public, I was grateful and enthusiastically accepted this new challenge.

Sarachan: What excites you about this period of art?

Ginex: Most of the technological, scientific, demographic and social innovations and revolutions that still mark our world today took place between the end of the nineteenth century and the First World War. All forms of creativity, and the arts, in particular, have participated in, represented, or sometimes shaped those innovations and revolutions. It is impossible to understand what contemporary art is today without acknowledging, or even disavowing, the legacy of those decades.

Sarachan: Why is this art relevant to the current moment?

Ginex: Economic difficulties, exacerbated inequality and social tensions, problems of marginality and insecurity experienced by large swaths of the population are not exclusive to contemporary American society: many other countries have experienced and continue to endure similar conditions of widespread hardship. Late nineteenth-century Italy was one such case. I believe that the involvement of the Italian artists of the time in the debate around the “social question” and the consequent, profound renewal of their production in form and content, could be a powerful inspiration and a stimulus, both for today’s artists and for the public.

Sarachan: How has the art world struggled and or persevered through this pandemic?

Ginex: Artists have always known how to respond to adverse conditions by renewing their creativity and by immersing themselves in the reality of their day. I believe, however, that it is still too early to evaluate and even to understand how and to what extent the art world has reacted to this pandemic.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Staging Injustice is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays by appointment. More information can be found here.

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The art of Katherine McNenly: An enduring gift to generations – CTV Edmonton



In her Almonte home and studio, an artist sits face to face with the subject of her latest portrait.

It’s a young girl. Her gaze is fixed and serious; her wide, dark eyes focused on the painter before her.  

The girl isn’t actually in the room, although the image on the canvas is so strikingly real, it feels like she could be. 

In reality, she is a creation; a timeless treasure brought to life by the gifted brush of Katherine McNenly.

“It’s something much more than a photograph.  It’s something that’s going to endure,” McNenly said.

“It’s a piece of history.  It’s going to last. It could be in your family for generations.”

Katherine McNenly painting

McNenly is an award-winning portrait and still life artist. She is an ardent observer of the living and inanimate, capturing, on canvas, the people and things we love.

“I think it’s trying to get people to stop and slow down and just look at something for a few moments and maybe think about the miracle of what you’re looking at,” she said.

“For me, it’s the just the beauty of looking at these objects and people. You’re bringing them to light. It’s almost like magic.”  

The magic began for McNenly during childhood. A lifelong drawer and painter, she studied fine art in the 1980’s at York University during the day, and took night classes with an English portrait painter living in Toronto.

“It was really amazing to get that foundation which is really what I wanted,” said the artist.

Katherine McNenly paintingMcNenly typically paints from photographs she takes herself.  Meeting subjects in person is often a valuable part of her process.

“I prefer that so I have an interaction with them and get to know them before doing the portrait.  So, even though you’re doing a likeness, you’re also trying to capture something of their personality,” said McNenly.

At International competitions, featuring works from thousands of artists, McNenly’s pieces have received top honours from the Portrait Society of America.  

 She is frequently commissioned; her larger, more detailed requests often taking several months to complete.

 McNenly’s still life pieces are equally demanding. She painstakingly sets up each one, working to capture the seemingly ordinary, while elevating it to something worthy of our interest and focus.

 “I like the challenge of painting these inanimate objects from life, usually with natural light, and trying to find all the variations in light and shape and form and colour. There’s almost a feeling of air of movement, like it’s vibrating,” said McNenly.

McNenly painting

McNenly is also a gifted landscape painter. In warmer weather, she loves venturing into the great outdoors to find her next piece.

“I like to do plein air.  It’s wonderful to be outside in nature and painting it.

Despite McNenly’s years at the easel, and her commitment to excellence, the artist confesses to never being fully satisfied with the outcome.

“With every painting, I always feel disappointed in the end. I feel it’s not good enough. I need to keep going.”

And Katherine McNenly will, fuelled by the faces she’s yet to meet, and the art she was born to create.

“I don’t think I’ll ever stop. Every time, it’s something brand new again, so you’re always feeling this passion.”

The art of Katherine McNenly can be viewed on her website or at General Fine Craft in Almonte. Her work will also be exhibited, along with other artists, at a show on April 23-24 at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte.

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City applying for grant to fund temporary downtown art exhibit –



The city is hoping the exhibit will encourage more residents to go downtown and visit its businesses in the process while celebrating “the reconnection of our communities in the aftermath of the

“This project directly supports free, accessible delivery of arts and culture programming to the community while enhancing the downtown core,” said a January 24th report for council.

The city can apply for up to $100,000 and must do so before the end of March 2023.

Council directed staff to apply for the grant on Monday, January 24th.

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Collaborative art exhibition explores grief at GV – Grand Valley Lanthorn – Grand Valley Lanthorn



The Grand Valley State University Art Gallery hosted a brand new exhibition Thursday with “Sorrow/Fullness: A Reflection on Mourning.” This is a metalsmithing showcase that takes a look at grief and loss through the lens of reflection and celebration. The exhibition was a collaboration between three metalsmith artists, including Sue Amendolara, Adrienne M. Grafton and GVSU professor Renee Zettle-Sterling. 

Amendolara and Grafton were unable to attend but it was ultimately a success, with an extremely positive reception from those who attended. 

I just wish that Sue and Adrienne could have been there with me,” Zettle-Sterling said. “I felt that people were receptive to the work and the ideas surrounding the show.  I received a lot of questions and interest seemed to be positive.”

The showing was a big deal for the artists, as it saw them return to a world where their work could be viewed by spectators in person. Zettle-Sterling said that the energy that surrounds a live show just does not compare to online showings. 

“I am feeling very lucky that the show is able to be seen in a live setting,” Zettle-Sterling said. “I have been in several shows that have been forced to be online exhibitions and it’s just not the same. It reminds me of teaching online versus teaching in person; it’s just not the same and lacks soul.”

Grafton was happy to return to showing in person as well, as the coming together of artists to show and discuss efforts was her favorite aspect of pre-COVID exhibitions. She was also grateful for the precautions and actions taken by GVSU in order to best showcase the project. 

“It was truly wonderful to be with friends and family again at our opening back in October at the Erie Art Museum,” Grafton said. “When the pandemic hit, one of the things I missed the most was art openings and museums. I absolutely love gathering with artists and looking at and discussing work. With the latest rise in COVID-19, it again feels intimidating to get together, but, I’m very pleased with the online presence GVSU has created to showcase this exhibition.”

“Sorrow/Fullness” explores the realm of grief and loss, with a special focus on celebrating the lives of lost loved ones and the experiences shared with them. The art pieces have a very personal connection to the artists, as they were inspired by the lost loved ones in their own lives. 

Grafton’s work was inspired by her mother, who passed away in 2014. The event was something that touched her deeply, ultimately inspiring the pieces shown in “Sorrow/Fullness.”

“A few years after her passing I began using the grief as a source of inspiration for the body of work in the show,” Grafton said. “The work for me is about the passing of time and memories. I use recognizable imagery to tell stories about my emotions and experiences. In my piece titled “Residue,” I’ve taken my mom’s old used makeup and dipped it in plaster. The fragile shell encases the things she touched every day that were an important part of her daily routine.” 

Amendolara’s work for the project was also inspired by the loss of her parents. She said that her focus was to celebrate the experiences she had with them and to continue them with surviving family members. 

As a child, I spent a lot of time in my parent’s interior design studio looking at fabrics, wallpapers, antiques, etc.,” Amendolara said. “I loved talking with my father about projects he was working on, and it was these experiences that led me to become a craftsperson.”

Working with different materials led Amendolara to create the piece she made for this exhibit. She took pieces that were personal to her and her loved ones to turn it into something else.

“I made a pair of upholstery scissors using cast flowers from my mother’s funeral bouquet,” Amendolara said. “The scissors are deconstructed,  suggesting lingering grief or the inability to heal.  The scissors rest on a small quilt made from silk from my wedding dress; a reference to family.” 

Coming together to work through grief collectively is a powerful and healing concept that really flourished with “Sorrow/Fullness.” It brought people from all over to experience the grief of the artists as a way to get through their own. Each of the artists hopes all who come to view their work are helping to use it to cope with their personal situations and hopefully broaden the conversation surrounding grief and loss. 

The exhibition will be on display at the Haas Center for Performing Arts Gallery until April 1, 2022. For more information on the project and each of the artists, visit the GVSU Art Gallery website here

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