Senior art exhibit mixes playfulness and memory

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Senior Angela Giallombardo used her love for clothes and the memories they carry as inspiration for her senior exhibit. Photo by Paulina Martin.

Angela Giallombardo’s senior art exhibit is the center of attention to all those who enter Gorman Lecture Center. 

The exhibit, entitled “Weft and Weave,” tells the story of Giallombardo’s childhood through prints of clothing, organized in four sections to mimic a closet.

Giallombardo used screen printing, a lengthy and tricky process, to create images of her favorite articles of clothing, from her parent’s high school jackets to her favorite pair of Converse that have only recently deteriorated. 

“[The organization] is chronological in a way,” Giallombardo said. “[The two jackets holding hands] are my parents from a long time ago and it has this nostalgic feeling. The pieces are things from my childhood to things that I could wear now. I arrange them kind of chronologically but also organized like a closet.”

Giallombardo explained that when she was younger, she never thought she would become an art major. She says she began doodling and drawing at a young age but did not consider entering the art program until she took classes for fun and fell in love with the craft.

“I got here and I really like the art program and the professors, so I just stuck with it,” Giallombardo said. “I thought, ‘I could actually do this.’”

Giallombardo discussed how she had been thinking about her project since the beginning of her junior year, when her brother told her that “you know yourself best, so that’s the story you can tell the best,” inspiring her to do her show as an autobiographical piece.

“By telling your story well, more people will understand,” Giallombardo said.

One of the most personal pieces in Giallombardo’s exhibit is the floral pants, which she owned when she was four years old..

“I loved these pants,” Giallombardo said. “They were my favorite. I brought them on vacation, and I had an accident in them, so my mom made me throw them away, and I was really sad. So I was like, ‘I’m going to immortalize them in a print.’ ”

Another cherished item is the pink Converse placed in the center of the shoe section.

“I love Converse,” Giallombardo said. “I got them in eighth grade and they just died last year.”

Giallombardo explained that sneakers, Converse in particular, were partially chosen for the exhibit as a means of connecting to those around her. Because everyone owns sneakers, and Converse have been exceptionally popular for decades, a common link arises between Giallombardo and her audience.

“My best friend, Paulina, has the same Converse,” Giallombardo said. “It is a piece that people can connect with, like ‘oh, I remember when I wore my Converse back in the day,’ or you still wear them now.”

When deciding on what items to pick for the exhibit, Giallombardo said that most of the pieces “were things that I don’t have anymore, or things that I lost in an unfortunate way.”

By including pieces that she had lost from her childhood, Giallombardo was able to revive past memories in a present experience.

Other pieces belonged to Giallombardo’s family and were chosen because of the sentiment that surrounded them.

“The jean jacket represents my mom’s jacket that she’s had for as long as I can remember,” Giallombardo said. “Only recently did it get holes in it and she can’t wear it anymore. The two ponchos belonged to me and my sister.”

While the art appears bright and simple, its creation was a strenuous process. Giallombardo had to master her craft of screen printing, which can take up to one hour for a single edition of a piece that may not turn out how she wanted it to, even after several tries.

“You can print many editions of something and it’s not always going to print really well the first time,” Giallombardo said.

Additionally, a lot of work was put into making the pieces appear animated, as if someone was actually wearing them. Learning screen printing aided Giallombardo in creating the illusion that the pants were in use, which helps the art seem more real, tangible, and relatable to the audience.

“I wanted them to be kind of like a portrait,” Giallombardo said.

Giallombardo said that she occasionally sits in Gorman watching people look at her work and listens for feedback.

“It makes people really happy,” Giallombardo said. “I really wanted something that would bring a smile to someone’s face.”

Giallombardo also commented on how her show is rather unusual in comparison to other senior art projects over the years.

“I’ve seen a lot of shows at UD that have been targeting more controversial things,” Giallombardo said. “Though I think they’ve been good, I wanted to do something different. So I made it very purposefully bright with a childlike palette. I wanted to give that youthful feel.”

To Giallombardo, art is a way of self-expression, exposure of truths and method of beauty. She describes it as a window to another world with a special appreciation for the craft.

“There’s a form to it, like Plato’s forms, you know?” Giallombardo said. “There’s the physical form, and then the higher form that the art represents.”

When asked about her post-graduation plans, Giallombardo laughed and said, “open an Etsy shop.”

The closing reception for “Weft and Weave” will be Friday, May 5, following thesis presentations by the senior art history majors.

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