Art major di Paola's exhibit honors those who have touched her life

Release Date: 12/4/2012

University of the Ozarks senior Elizabeth di Paola, an art major from Piggott, Ark., will present her senior art exhibit, "Loving Portraits," from Dec. 4-8 in the Stephens Art Gallery.

There will be a reception to meet the artist from 5-6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, in the gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

di Paola, who is also pursuing a secondary education degree and hopes to teach art one day, said in her artist statement that every person has an interesting story to tell and she tries to convey in her portraits those things that make each person unique.

"Each portrait I create contains a figure and a reference to something connected to who they are," she said. "My art contains the different types of people in society with references to their interests, their pasts, and dreams of their futures. I capture the personality of the individual person. I do this by picking imagery or materials that represent the person or personality of the one being portrayed."

The Elderly Lady, by Elizabeth di Paola.

Senior art major Elizabeth di Paola’s artwork, The Elderly Lady, represents the many older women she has met in her life who are strong willed and independent. The Elderly Lady and other works from di Paola’s exhibit, Loving Portraits, will be on display from Dec. 4-8 in the University’s Stephens Gallery.

Among the techniques and mediums that di Paola utilizes in the Loving Portraits exhibit are printmaking, watercolor, charcoal, and ceramics.

"Some of my works are intended to invite the viewer into the world of the person portrayed in the portrait," she said. "Others more closely resemble a traditional portrait. I want the viewer to ask: How does this person view the world? Do they enjoy or tire of life? What are their experiences with the world? I answer many of these questions within my work by invoking a feeling or mood within the piece and providing visual clues."

di Paola said the people in her life inspired the three-dimensional pieces in her show.

"A variety of techniques are used to manipulate the surfaces including the use of colored slips, horse hair, and Raku," she said. "The shape, color, and symbols depict something about the person who inspired the piece. I draw influence from the people around me. My friends often appear within my works of art. Comic Relief allows the viewer some insight into the hopes and dreams of my friend Tori. It also shows her interest in zombies, werewolves, and comic book characters. Other figures are representations of specific types of people I have met throughout my life. The series of older people exemplify this. The Elderly Lady represents the many older women I have met who are strong willed and independent. However, something happens, and they must become dependent on others. Each person portrayed has experienced many decades of life, and their images show the effects of that life. Some are worn and emotionally and physically drained, while others still have life to live. Therefore, there is a lot of variety in how I handle the mediums used to depict each person."

di Paola said the Loving Portraits exhibit depict just a few of the people who have touched her life.

"Each person is different and has touched my life in a special way," she said. "This resulted in different techniques and styles used for each portrait or three-dimensional piece. This variety can also be seen by looking at portraits and how artists chose to portray people from the more traditional portraits of Dürer to the more abstracted portraits of Van Gogh."