On April 20, 2020, we asked Armory Teaching Artist Gabriella Carboni to take over our Instagram account for the day. Here's what she shared. Be sure to follow us @ArmoryArts for future #TakeOverTuesdays from our faculty, students, volunteers, and more.
Hello everyone! My name is Gabriella Carboni. I am an interdisciplinary artist originally from Boston, MA. I received my BS in Studio Art, with a minor in Art History, from Skidmore College. In 2017, I received my MFA in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art. I moved to Los Angeles shortly after graduating from Cranbrook. I completed the Armory Teaching Fellowship in 2018, and I now teach many different classes for K-12 at both the Armory and Art Center College of Design.
Images: Left: Gabriella working in her studio. Right: Close up of one of Gabriella's art studies. Images courtesy of the artist.
My work deals primarily with kinship, familial ties, and intimacy. It focuses on the interconnectedness we need and yearn for. It speaks to touch and attachment. I strive to illustrate emotional dependency through the way my sculptures and drawn figures interact with one another in space. I am interested in how we support each other, care for each other, and lift each other up. I look at intimacy and support not only as they manifest between two people who may already have a kinship, but also within our society as strangers and acquaintances interact on a daily basis.
Image 1: Shelf (Holding you up), 2017, Fabric, plaster, chicken wire, acrylics, polyfill. Image 2: Creatures Holding Hands, 2017. Fabric, plaster, chicken wire, acrylics, polyfill. Image 3: Body Pillow, 2017, Fabric, plaster, chicken wire, acrylics, polyfill. Image 4: My thesis exhibit & I 2017. Images courtesy of the artist.
My sculptural work focuses mainly on how we support each other. I use both the human body, as well and natural forms as references for this work. I create precarious balancing situations: ones that are strong, but that are not permanent. The different parts of each sculpture are not attached; nothing binds them together, and the perfect balance is the only thing holding them up. These sculptures speak about interdependence, using physical relationships between objects to represent emotional relationships. Using both hard and soft textures in my sculptures, I investigated different personalities and dispositions coming together and interacting with one another.
When I started grad school, I was basically afraid of using color. I made only black and white work. Now, 5 years later, color is one of the key elements in my work. My color choices pull from a naturally-derived palette, but then challenge that with bright, bold colors that throw it off.
Image 1: Rock, 2017, Graphite on clayboard. Image 2: Once One (2). Acrylic gouache on paper. Images courtesy of the artist.
Over the past two years I have been focusing on a few different series of drawings and paintings. During my stay at SIM residency in Reykjavik, Iceland, I started developing both my Once One series (pictured above), and my Hugger (pictured below) pieces. While staying in Iceland, I became interested in the tectonic plates. I visited Thingvellir National Park, and was fascinated by the idea that you could walk in between the North American and the Eurasian plates. I imagined them once being connected and breaking apart. I thought, “what if you tried to push them back together, to match them up?” There may be remnants of areas that used to fit, but nothing would fit together perfectly, or even well. I thought of this as the idea of a broken relationship, or of how we grow apart from friends or family as we move far away and get older. We may have fit together in the past, our edges matching, but now what remains is two pieces that have been smoothed over and further cracked by time and weathering and change.
Image 1: Ásmundur Sveinsson Jónsmessunótt in Iceland. Image 2: Hold Me, 2020, graphite and acrylic gouache on clayboard. Image 3: Soft Embrace, 2019, graphite and acrylic gouache on clayboard. Images courtesy of the artist.
I find this body of work to be interesting to think about right now, as we go through this pandemic, and find ourselves deprived from touch, unable to hug one another.
While in Iceland, I also visited the Ásmundarsafn, a house and studio built by Icelandic artist Ásmundur Sveinsson. This space now functions as an Art Museum and Sculpture garden. While visiting, I saw a sculpture that caught my eye and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I have always been interested in intimacy and finding and providing comfort, but seeing this sculpture opened up a new language for me. I hadn’t made anything that was overtly about hugging, which kind of surprised me. This sculpture set off an entire body of work about hugging and the comfort in an embrace. I find this body of work to be interesting to think about right now, as we go through this pandemic, and find ourselves deprived from touch, unable to hug one another. Now more than ever, we notice and feel the need for this type of connection.
Follow the meaningful work the Armory's Teaching Artists do in our community every day.