‘Face It!’ exhibit by Ornella Maruccio-Belhomme
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
“Face It!” is an exhibit in the Amelia Douglas Gallery by Ornella Maruccio-Belhomme. It is a collection of mixed media art being showcased from October 25 to December 15. Maruccio-Belhomme was born in Italy and comes from a creative background, since her father was also an artist. Being an independent artist, Maruccio-Belhomme’s work has only been presented in private galleries in Italy, Belgium, the UK, and now Canada.
My initial impression of the gallery was that many of the pieces are not very intricate in design but rather are intricate in usage of media. Maruccio-Belhomme uses complex stylistic decisions to add a certain pop to each piece. In her artist statement she says she plays with “forms and materials […] until [she reaches] a final composition,” which will represent a definition of perfection.
Many of the canvas works play with a technique in which a face is tiled over the same face so that it looks layered. Designs are also layered in places where the focal design may be swirls of glitter, but within those swirls are barely distinguishable squiggles of pen.
The pieces are arranged almost in an alternating order of mediums. Many of the larger works are hand-quilted pieces. Some of these are adorned with colourful strings and fabrics, while others present sewn-in beads as the focal point of the piece. All the quilts showcase intricate hand embroidery, with thin threads being used as very fine lines for large-scale images and designs.
My favourite quilt is Buio Profondo, which is a 20-1/2” by 26” piece. The piece contains three dangling fabrics from a bamboo stick. The middle fabric is the focus of the piece, occupied by a detailed image of what appears to be a woman’s wide-eyed face. Her expression seems to be a mix between fear and judgement. The details of this piece are composed of threads but also beads, glitters, and paints overtop and surrounding the thread. The small floral fabrics dangling on the sides of the main fabric add an air of mystery to the piece, as does the theme of shades of blue. I can’t help but feel watched by the woman’s beaded eyes as I make my way around the gallery.
Other works in the gallery are also very mixed in media. Pieces include pasted cut-outs of paper and combinations of glitter with paints, papers, and pens. The range of paintings and canvases are also incredible, ranging from oil paintings, paint on glass, paint on metal, and ink tape on cardboard. There are tiled collages of different parts of faces with an abstract initial look, but the composition really does come together and is easy to look at and interpret. There is definitely a feeling of perfection looking at these pieces—it is hard to tell what they could possibly be missing.