Ukraine Flower Series: The Power of Defiance- Sandra Filippucci
Resilience - Copper Tritscheller
West Gallery: February 3 – March 11, 2023
Opening Reception: Friday, February 3, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Virtual Artist Talk: Friday, February 24, 6:30 pm
- Sandra Filippucci
- Copper Tritscheller
Of all the artists I have interviewed and profiled in the course of 30 years as an art journalist, Sandra Filippucci remains unique for having pursued a single subject throughout most of her long career - Joan of Arc. The war in Ukraine changed that.
Her new body of work, “Ukraine Flower Series,” marks a departure into more expressionist territory, and, for the most part, they are not the emblems of happiness, sensuality, or even fragility that we find in well-known floral iterations, from the Dutch masters through Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol. They are generally as savage as the war itself and often appear to be exploding, the stamens of a normal flower transformed into dangerous projectiles, delicate petals suggesting bandages or punctured flesh. Their beauty is of the same sort as a de Kooning “woman”—she may be in your face, but she is also irresistible. This series expresses anger and sadness about the war in Ukraine, but is also an homage to Filippucci’s British mother who survived the London Blitz in 1940-41: “Five days after the first bombs dropped on Ukraine on February 24, 2022, I envisioned flowers being destroyed. Seeing terrified Ukrainian families on the news - huddled in subways - suddenly jolted me back into memories of my British mother doing exactly that…hiding in subways during the WWII bombings. She would occasionally speak about that time—a horrendous nine-month-long siege that killed something like 50,000 civilians—but mostly my mother preferred to suppress the memories and cover up her terror with flowers. Everywhere she could, there were giant flowers on the walls, on the carpets, and on her clothing. My mother did not like receiving actual flowers because she hated to watch them die.”
There is an ongoing fascination with the struggle between good and evil that pulses through all of Filippucci’s work, whether it’s Joan against the English or the flowers that will never bloom in Ukraine. Memories of a difficult Catholic girlhood also permeate her subject matter, which, she says, “is all autobiographical one way or another.”
A pioneer in digital fine art since 1984, her process is a hybrid of 3d renders and mark-making - fascinating in and of itself - but more importantly, she is a passionate artist at a time when passion is not the most prized asset in the art world. A cool, oblique, or ironic stance is one that most calls out to critics (I’m thinking of artists like Cindy Sherman or Laura Owens). But Filippucci is one hundred percent full-bore committed to her subjects and her materials in a way that recalls the great Abstract Expressionists of 60 and 70 years ago. There was nothing half-baked or self-conscious about their approaches to painting or reactions to the political climate in which they came of age.
And at a time when we are every day confronted by very real instances of good and evil in the world, Filippucci reminds us of an era when honest emotional responses were the norm. —Ann Landi, Arts writer & Director of the Wright Contemporary Gallery.
Filippucci attended the Maryland Institute of Art on scholarship and studied painting, drawing, and printmaking. The artist began working with computers in 1984. Filippucci then became part of a group of New York artists working with technology since the mid-eighties and was the first artist to have a solo digital & video exhibition at The Museum of American Illustration in Manhattan. She has since developed her skills in 3d modeling and now 3d ceramic sculpture which, when combined with traditional drawing and painting, has morphed into a highly expressive hybrid process.
Mozaik Art LA Award and Der Prix Ars Electronica winner, Sandra Filippucci, has lectured and had exhibitions and solos at the Museum of American Illustration, Colgate University, Syracuse University, The Morrison Gallery, The Maryland Institute, the Verbum Digital Gallery and in Santa Fe: Evoke Gallery, Center of Contemporary Arts, Linda Durham Gallery, Turner Carroll, the Owings Dewey Gallery, and the Wright Contemporary. The artist has contributed work to numerous charities including The Kent School, Women Against Violence, Artists Medical Fund, and Habitat for Humanity. Her work is in many private, public, and corporate collections.
Copper Tritscheller (b1956) is a bronze sculptor living and working in Connecticut. Drawn to what she calls “misunderstood” animals, much of Tritscheller’s work centers around burros and bats. As a pack animal, the burro, or donkey, has been the backbone of building most civilizations. By carrying loads greater than themselves, they have made moving, building, and creating possibilities, and yet society has reduced them to a stereotype. Similarly, bats are responsible for most of the fruit we enjoy today. They help control the bug population and in return, society is rapidly destroying their natural habitats.
She has been most inspired by the vitality and mystery of the works of Javier Marin, Mario Martini and Leonard Baskin, all of whom are “more about feeling than the physical reality of the subject.” In her own words, that feeling tends towards the primal emotion of the animals’ developmental histories, their plights, their endurance and survival. When crafting her sculptures, Copper imbues her bronze burros and bats with human aspects to provide context, relatability, and a voice; they tell a story, share their wisdom. The sculptor relishes working out the structural and aesthetic challenges of morphing the animal and human into one figure, tapping the inner beauty and integrity of each creation.
Copper’s body of work continues to grow through commissions and public installations and can be found in galleries and private collections in the US, China, and Taiwan.
“I don’t have premeditated ideas I want to convey but I do want to spark something akin to primal emotion-a feeling or thought that connects you at that moment with what you are looking at. I take animals which have caused an emotional response in me and try to share that feeling with my work.”