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Work Samples

Faces-#269, #231 & #280

oil, acrylic and graphite on paper Each panel is approximately 22"x9"

Faces-#193, #260, #75, #195, #275. #259

oil, acrylic, graphite, ink and torn paintings on paper Each panel is approximately 22"x9"

1000-Reasons

acrylic and graphite on paper 72"x41"

This-Moment-is-Every-Moment

acrylic, charcoal and graphite on paper 30"x46"

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About Gina

Harford County

Gina Pierleoni is a mixed media artist who uses portraiture to spark conversations about empathy and our common humanity.  What Makes Us (Us), her 2018 solo installation at Creative Alliance in Baltimore, questions perception, habit and bias around where we place ourselves in relation to others. Portraiture is the opposite of assumption. Pierleoni’s images are acts of deep seeing that push past label and judgments; they "de-separate" us.    The Baltimore Sun described Pierleoni’s... more

Recent Mixed Media Portraits

I use portraiture to spark conversations about empathy and our common humanity. Portrait painting demands curiosity, stillness and deep observation. My images are acts of deep seeing that push past label and judgments; they seek to"de-separate" us.

This ongoing series begun in 1993, has 300 panels to date. Mixed media pieces are created from observation & memory over weeks, months and years, each lovingly realized. I begin with a model, paying close attention to details and impressions. After our session or sessions, I continue alone, recalling as much as possible about the sitter. The remainder of what happens is intuited. I draw, paint, scratch into, collage and stencil. Figures emerge from long histories of surfaces and ghosted images. These are real people, genuine, vulnerable, alive and changing.

After the initial sittings, a dozen or more portraits (each approximately 22”x10”) are worked on simultaneously. Paintings shift in and out of the group as they develop and affect one another. Gender, race and age sometimes blur. Torn paper edges create irregularities and unique-nesses which echo the singularity of the figures. The portraits begin alone and emerge as a collective with no hierarchy.

  • Faces #195 & #275

    oil, acrylic, colored pencil and graphite on paper Each panel is approximately 22"x9.5"
  • Faces #270, #274 & #264 (all Kyle)

    acrylic, oil, graphite, ink, colored pencil and torn paintings on paper Each panel is approximately 22"x9.5"
  • Group One

    oil, acrylic, graphite, colored pencil, ink and torn paintings on paper. Each panel is approximately 22"x9.5"
  • Faces #269, #231 & #280

    acrylic, oil, graphite on paper Each panel is approximately 22"x9.5"
  • Faces, A Long Row

    acrylic, oil, ink, colored pencil, graphite and torn paintings on paper Each panel is approximately 22"x9.5"
  • Face #214

    oil and acrylic on paper 21"x9"
  • Faces #124, #240 & #134

    acrylic, colored pencil, charcoal and graphite on paper Each panel is approximately 22"x9.5".
  • New Row of Faces

    oil, acrylic, graphite, ink, colored pencil and torn paintings on paper Each panel is approximately 22"x9.5"
  • (private collection)

    acrylic and pastel on paper 22"x9"
  • Faces #, #129 & #112

    acrylic,pastel and colored pencil on paper Each panel is approximately 22"x9.5".

Portrait installation shots

I use portraiture to spark conversations about empathy and our common humanity. Portrait painting demands curiosity, stillness and deep observation. My images are acts of deep seeing that push past label and judgments; they seek to"de-separate" us.

These portraits are designed to be shown individually, in groups and in large gatherings. Sometimes architectural elements such as curved walls or interior and exterior corners are used to add impact to the groups.

Artist Residency at Uferwerk, Werder, Germany

In mid-November through early December 2017 I was fortunate to do an artist residency at Uferwerk in Werder, Germany. An exhibit and workshop presented were part of the experience. The inspirations for sketchbook and completed drawings and paintings surprised me. I was so taken by the location, the people, the language and the natural environment that my creative impulses took over. The small drawings became an investigation of everyday beauty along the Havel River.

The exhibition installation was also surprising. An elder artist I met suggested interspersing the portraits with groups of tiny drawings between them. I tend to separate different ways of working but she thought the small drawings would offer a space to rest and contemplate between the intensity of the portraits. And she was right.

  • Pod

    ink, graphite and colored pencil on paper 4.75"x3.75"
  • Pod 2

    ink, graphite and colored pencil on paper 4.5"x4.25"
  • Light

    Inspired by the Lichternacht Festival ink on paper 3.5"x4"
  • Silke's Treetop

    ink and colored pencil on paper 3.5"x5"
  • Light 3

    ink on paper 2.75"x2.75"
  • Light 2

    ink on paper 3"x3"
  • Uferwerk/Werder sketchbook page

    There was a communal kitchen at Uferwerk where meals were shared with 7 families. We took turns cooking for one another and played games some evenings. On weekend mornings, I arrived in the kitchen before the children. The youngest, 6 years old, was already an artists and ferocious drawer. I showed her how to do rubbings from a new kitchen spoon. The rubbings were then altered. graphite, colored pencil and ink on paper 8.25"x10"
  • 'Gina Pierleoni' installation shot at Uferwerk exhibition

    Portraits: acrylic, graphite and colored pencil on paper Drawings: colored pencil and graphite on paper
  • Gina Pierleoni, solo show at Uferwerk, Werder, Germany

    Drawings: colored pencil and graphite on paper Portrait: acrylic and charcoal on paper, 22"x9"
  • 'Gina Pierleoni' exhibit at Uferwerk

    Drawings: colored pencil, ink and graphite on paper Portrait: acrylic and charcoal on paper, 22"x9"

Ear to the Ground

Arrows direct us toward paths or destinations. When the choices are too numerous or point in conflicting directions it's overwhelming. Many of us live with constant distractions and diminished focus . Filtering outside directives and obstructions becomes challenging.

In the series, Ear to the Ground, arrows represent a call for sustained attention… to inner wisdom, everyday rituals, a final breath, the power of individuals and collectives.

These arrows are hand torn from decades old paintings and to-do lists, hundreds of them uniquely pointing. They are re-routings, reconfigurations, opportunities and crossed paths creating possibilities. Still tearing them…

  • Surround Sound

    Surround Sound 22“x10”x1.5”, acrylic, ink, colored pencil, graphite, and torn-up old paintings on panel This painting was created following the death of a family member. In the moment of passing senses are elevated and time stands still.
  • Urgent

    10“x8”x1.5”, acrylic, ink and torn-up old paintings on panel Urgent calls attention to rituals we overlook on a daily basis.
  • This

    acrylic and hand torn arrows on wooden panel 10"x8"x1.5"
  • Jarred Loose

    7“x62”x24”, acrylic, ink, colored pencil, graphite, hand-torn arrows from old paintings, glass jars This ongoing series began following the uprisings in Baltimore. The arrows represent the protest, the people standing together (though on different sides) and hundreds of potential solutions for coming together. There are over 500 unique arrows to date.
  • Mr. West

    7 “x5”x1.5”, acrylic, ink and torn-up old paintings on panel This piece was made as a memorial for Tyrone West, an unarmed artist killed by police in Baltimore several years ago.
  • Ear to the Ground

    acrylic, ink, colored pencil, graphite, hand torn arrows, plastic sleeves, clothes pins and line size variable This piece focuses on individual choices made that together form a multitude and a less than straight path.
  • Force

    acrylic, ink, colored pencil,graphite and old torn paintings and arrows on panel 12"x12"x1.5"
  • Why Didn't You?

    Acrylic, ink, graphite colored pencil and torn paintings on paper mounted on wood panel 8"x10"x1.5"

Human Icons

These paintings are primarily large and segmented. Multiple panels are often older paintings reassembled and reworked. The separation of panels along with recycling old paintings refers to our fractured lives and the ways we constantly reassembling ourselves.

Some of the paintings are in process for ten years or more. I allow the "old" images to show through, some sections visible in their entirety while other areas are largely obscured. It is important to keep intact the visual timeline that occurs in making each piece. The figures then emerge from a long, multi-layered history.

"Human Icons" visually braids images of humanity, veneration, and the sacred. The paintings make visible moments of transformation within the people they depict. Though the context is secular, I aim to reveal each figure's divine self.

Statues For My Father

After my father died, my mother handed me a stack of his funeral cards and said, "Why don't you make something from these?" The cards honor his name (Gino Pierleoni, so close to mine), birth/death dates and the images and religious practice that was important to him. I wondered whether there would be a point during the alteration process when these religious figures might no longer be considered "holy".

The final pieces are mounted on wood, freestanding like statues.

COLOR CODED, Solo Exhibition

COLOR CODED: a solo exhibition at CCBC, Baltimore, Maryland

Curated by Trisha Kyner and Osvaldo Mesa
Photographs by Joseph Hyde

Illustrations

Illustrations from several projects are represented in this gallery.

Lamentation was inspired by the poem 'For Nathan Cirillo, Soldier' by A. Garnett Weiss. Ms. Weiss' poem, 'Surrender' was inspired by one of my pieces, 'The Deepest Sleep'. These collaborations are featured in the the online magazine, The Light Ekphrastic.
https://thelightekphrastic.com/

Visible Man Revealed is a series based on the clear plastic Visible Man models common in my childhood. Rather than showcase the organs, I wanted the interior spaces to be a cataloging system or series of thematic collections. In these black and white ink drawings, I used common male archetypes collecting images and text to describe each one.

Forgetting Memory
In November of 2012, my mother, a healthy and very active 86 year old, developed an infection which traveled to her brain. She was completely transformed, bed ridden and frail. Initially, she was only able to say a handful of phrases which, strung together, seemed meaningless: “You know”, "Wow”, and “I was thinking “. Every once in a while she had moments of startling clarity.

In the next few months, she rebounded and learned to walk with a walker. Her ability to speak returned but her memory was dramatically impacted. She asked questions like, “Was I a good mother?” and “Was I a good wife?” She didn't remember all of her 9 children unless she named them from oldest to youngest. My parents had been married for over 50 years but she'd misplaced him. It was as if her memory files had been randomly ransacked and areas were deleted or mismatched.

In many ways, she was more content because she didn't remember what troubled her in the past. My mother became funnier, even to herself, asking questions like, “What do you call the thing with two holes?” to which I replied, “Pants?” She called her walker a wagon and most of the time was OK with her mix-ups. It was game we played of remembering and sometimes I got the answer right.

These drawings reflect the space between my mother's mind before and after, memory and forgetting, the frustration of losing something you can’t find again, and the playful moments that sometimes happen when loss is treated like an adventure.

Annie's Tails
Published by ASL Tales
Written by Stacy Anne Murphy
Illustrated by Gina Pierleoni
Performed in American Sign Language by Crystal Schwartz

  • Nature Man

    Nature Man pairs images and symbols of nature with human nature. This drawing includes some of the ways we catalogue, from the Periodic Table to geographical borders. Though most of nature might be considered neutral, there are images associated with beauty, temptation and renewal. marker on paper, 16"x8"
  • Sensual Man

    Marker on paper, 16.5"x7.5" Sensual Man primarily includes that which we cannot intellectualize or hold in our hands: the unknown, our faith and emotions, the creative force, the blood coursing through our veins, music, sexual urges, nature and storytelling. Our senses are also heightened through our connections to one another and the world around us.
  • Boy Tom Man AND Responsibility Man

    Boy To Man, marker on paper, 16"x9.5" Boy to Man explores the inner dialogue of the transition from dependence (youth) to manhood. We have all uttered phrases such as "Why can't I? It wasn't my fault. I'm scared. It doesn't hurt. Real men don't cry." Using the dragonfly's profound metamorphosis as a metaphor, I include the baby and boy inside the man.
  • Power Man AND Target Man

    Power Man, marker on paper, 16"x8" Power Man explores the tipping points between healthy, ambiguous and addictive power. Power can be industrial, political, environmental, social, corporate, personal. It can involve natural resources, the justice system, manpower and our individual consciences. Power can be influenced by trust as well as the need to control and it is colored by our own perceptions. Target Man, marker on paper, 16"x7.5" Target Man was the first drawing in the series. He is inspired by history's vacillating "enemy" model.
  • Lamentation

    acrylic and ink on paper 22"x30" 'Lamentation' was inspired by the poem 'For Nathan Cirillo, Soldier' by A. Garnett Weiss. Ms. Weiss' poem, 'Surrender' was inspired by one of my pieces. These collaborations are featured in the most recent issue of the online magazine, The Light Ekphrastic. https://thelightekphrastic.com/
  • Un-Packing

    acrylic, graphite and ink on paper 5"x7"
  • Making Faces

    acrylic, ink, fabric and thread on paper 5"x14"
  • Bird Watching

    acrylic, ink and photograph on paper 5"x14"
  • 'Annie's Tails', Page 1

    acrylic and ink on paper, 11"x8.5"
  • 'Annie's Tails', Pages 4 and 5

    acrylic and ink on paper, 11"x17"

Painting Rag Shirts

PAINTING RAG SHIRTS
I have saved my painting rags for 30 years. It was difficult to part with them because the colors and patterns on the cut up T-shirts were remnants of the paintings I'd created, A number of years ago, I hung the rags on the wall, then sorted the fabric into short and long sleeves, bottom edges, necklines and middle sections. It seemed natural to sew pieces back together. The process became a way to reference the figure and my own history as a painter. In addition, this ongoing series transforms the rags into "paintings" in their own right.

  • M

    In the process of making my paintings, I clean my brushes and stencils on rags made from old cut up T-shirts. The combination of colors and patterns that appear on the scraps is not replicated in any of the rags. Though I didn't realize it would be, sewing the shirts back together is very much like making a painting or sculpture. It is a balancing act, a push and pull, and then, after days, weeks, months, you know it's done. Painting rags reassembled and sewn back together, acrylic and thread on cotton fabric
  • One of the Last Shirts

    2 weeks before my father died, it became difficult to get T-shirts over his head and my mother cut the fronts for easier access. In this shirt, I created something to honor his transition, using a stone wall to describe his dying process. Stones are laid strong and firm. They protect us and mark where we are. Over time, stones fall down changing the shape of the wall. There is also an image of a lion on the front of the shirt.
  • The D

    Painting rags reassembled and sewn back together, acrylic, buttons, and thread on cotton fabric
  • Fur Shirt

    As an avid collector and recycler, it is difficult to throw away the littlest scraps, especially when they are so beautiful. The Fur Shirt was created by individually and obsessively sewing hundreds of strands of painting rags onto a shirt made of reassembled painting rags. The shirt refers to fur because the many layers create a thick, billowing effect. Painting rags reassembled and sewn back together, acrylic and thread on cotton fabric
  • Painting Rag Shirt

    Painting rags reassembled and sewn back together, acrylic and thread on cotton fabric
  • Painting Rag Shirt with Spots

    Painting rags reassembled and sewn back together, acrylic and thread on cotton fabric
  • UK

    Painting rags reassembled and sewn back together, acrylic and thread on cotton fabric
  • Mystic

    Painting rags reassembled and sewn back together, acrylic and thread on cotton fabric
  • 3 Painting Rag Shirts

    Painting rags reassembled and sewn back together, acrylic and thread on cotton fabric
  • Painting Rag Shirts

    Painting rags reassembled and sewn back together, acrylic and thread on cotton fabric

Sewn Figures

The sewn figures echo my art making process … the stitching becomes drawing, the fabric is the paint and the attached objects form additional layers. Through collecting, sorting, re-purposing and obsessively working, these figures are born. Like the paintings, it's a process of putting pieces back together to make something whole again.

Each sewn figure is made entirely from discarded and re-purposed materials except for thread and paint. Materials have included: electric toothbrush rings, gift bag handles, any small things with holes in them, shoelaces, broken costume jewelry, hospital socks, old beads and buttons, graduation tassels, sequins, leather scraps, fabric and yarn. Everything is sewn together with a simple looping stitch.

  • Glistener

    I am a big fan of polka dots and stripes. Glistener was built around 2 favorite socks that had developed holes at the same time. They became her face and her socks. Materials used are 100% repurposed/recycled excluding thread. 28"x16"x5"
  • Leap Of

    Leap Of began with an armature of hospital socks left over from my mother's time n a nursing home. I considered where she went from here (after death) and what she needed to take with her. Materials used are 100% repurposed/recycled excluding thread. 26"x16"x6"
  • Untitled Baltimore

    Untitled Baltimore was started during the Uprisings and completed a year later. I dismantled a Maryland flag as a symbol of parallel worlds of opportunity and inclusion statewide particularly in Baltimore. Materials used are 100% repurposed/recycled excluding thread.
  • The Win

    ‘The Win’ is constructed using elements from my mother’s nursing home room collected during her last three weeks. The armature is built and stuffed with hospital socks. Also attached are gift bag handles, shoelaces, her religious medals, feathers and a bingo prize. Materials used are 100% repurposed/recycled excluding thread.
  • The Race

    The Race Plastic electric toothbrush rings and other round things with holes are attached using a simple looping stitch. Sequins are attached to the arms individually, obsessively. Materials used are 100% repurposed/recycled excluding thread. 24"x13"x5"
  • Butterflies

    ‘Butterflies’ is built around a pair of 1960’s earrings sewn onto the figure’s shoulders. There are also hand laced shoe tops, separated snaps which loop the arms, and children’s leggings which become the legs. Materials used are 100% repurposed/recycled excluding thread. 24"x9"x7"
  • Little Brown Boots

    This piece uses individually attached beads, winter glow in the dark gloves, dusting rags, individually stitched flowers and sequins, a safety pin collection and GI Joe boots. Materials used are 100% repurposed/recycled excluding thread.
  • The Deepest Sleep

    The Deepest Sleep was made following my father's death. I cut flowers from different fabrics and placed them on the figure. This was the first time I sewed slippers. Materials used are 100% repurposed/recycled excluding thread.
  • Gravity

    Materials used are 100% repurposed/recycled excluding thread. 26"x15"x8"
  • Sprung

    A variety of materials headed for the landfill were combined using a simple looping stitch. A faux Hawaiian lei was dissembled, modified and reattached. Materials used are 100% repurposed/recycled excluding thread.

Connect with Gina

website:

Gina's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.