The pandemic has continued to have a profound effect on definitions of “normalcy.” For painter Dean Gioia, this altered state has meant conjuring up spirits from supernatural realms — both visible and invisible. His “Haunted” exhibition at Gadsden Arts Center’s Munroe Family Community Gallery showcases his mastery of light as he highlights the ethereal within landscapes.
“At the beginning, there was a panic that this (virus) could get completely out of hand, and I was a lot more fearful then,” reflects Gioia, 71. “You just get used to living under a certain weight of reality. On the psychological side, it was around July where I went ahead and put a ghost in a painting to see what would happen.”
Gioia’s work is in hundreds of public and private collections including the Florida Museum of Natural History, IBM, Barnett Bank, Florida State University and the City of Tallahassee. As he enters his fifth decade of painting southern landscapes, his “Haunted” exhibit allowed him a chance to face fear head on and experiment with memory and presence. His Zoom art talk on Feb. 5 will give the public a glimpse into this process.
“The show is looking backward and looking forward at the same time,” describes Gioia. “I’ve always thought a lot about death and what that is and what it means. As the event horizon is shortening it’s like, what are you doing? What are you going to do with the time that is left?”
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