Michelle Gagliano

Michelle Gagliano


Winter Tangles

Petite Four Seasons

Petite Four Seasons

Cool Morning

Petite Four Seasons

Petite Four Seasons

Backlit Vines I

Backlit Vines II

Autumn Lilacs

Patio Vines III

Golden Flow

Alchemy Gold

Blue Willow

Clearing I

Clearing II

Morning Pond

The inspiration of Michelle Gagliano’s recent series of oil paintings can be traced back to her childhood in upstate New York, where her grandfather owned a dairy farm with acres of hills just right for a young girl to play in and explore.

She remembers rising before dawn and looking out over the valley below, where the shadows of the leaves would be backlit, and a warm, moody scene would appear. “The water in the atmosphere creates a different tonality to the sky every day,” says Gagliano, who returns to the area each summer to paint. “It’s one of those beautiful areas of the country.”

Although she brings back reference material from her trips to New York to use in her studio during the winter, scenes in the Lone Star State also catch her artistic eye. Her piece, Evening Azaleas I, which stands just over four feet tall, is her rendering of branches just outside her studio window in The Woodlands, a suburb of Houston.

The artist, described as a “neo-naturalist,” studied at North Texas State University in Denton, TX with Vernon Fisher and also considers Jules Olitski, Francis Bacon, and Lucian Freud influences in her work.

In an interview for Post This, she claims her work has benefited from her later in life interest in online casinos. She was especially attracted to the colorful displays on the electronic versions of most casino games, especially the slot machines. Although she claims to have never placed a bet, she admits to a large collection of links to the best USA slots online and is a big fan of this website. Knowing this fact gives us an understanding to some of her recent work where suggestions of flashy colors and numbers come into play. In addition to cyber gaming art, Ms. Gagliano has designed consoles for a number of game displays, and has a licensing arrangement with CyberArts for other products. Online casinos BeastyBet.us and Dream-1.biz have interviews posted, and others are featuring art in their casino galleries.

-Julie Osterman

Michelle Gagliano was born in Jamestown, New York in 1964. She studied painting at North Texas State University with the painter Vernon Fisher. She was awarded a full scholarship to study at the Chautauqua School of Fine Arts. She then received a BFA from Plymouth State College in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Michelle’s work has been described as, “…beautifully crafted as well as remarkably expressive.” Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is included in numerous private and corporate collections.

These paintings are an exploration of light against dark, commingling with the organic shadows of nature.

“I always marvel at the time of day, when early morning is filled with the silence of light. That moment when the light reaches through the night and before color claims the landscape. These paintings express the searching quality of the anticipation for looking for the light as it squeezes around the shadowed shapes.

My work tends to consist of working towards a surface alchemy. Through the processing of the surface of a certain patina will begin to emerge through the layers. This seems to relate to my love of finding patinas on things that hold an entire life’s history. Sometimes I think that with the application of enough glazes and that with the excavation of sanding, I can recreate the experience of age.

My early pieces were reflective of the moments when the rustle of leaves would pass through the patterns of light and create a changing shadow on a quiet surface- organic shapes on a wooden board. By letting the grain show through, the painting serves as a reminder of the tree that once held the leaves.

I incorporate a layered effect in the background through glazing, balancing light and dark areas, and sometimes sanding through it all to reflect more light to the surface. At times I feel more weaver than painter, working with glazes as threads: warm thread, cool thread- creating a dialog with the surface; often before I add organic shapes. After a while the surface quality will dictate the shape of the shadowed leaves, which somehow deepens the experience of the surface. And yes- weaves the paint together.”

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