just below the surface
The spaces in between Michel Varisco’s work force moments of meditative stillness amidst installations that rhythmically engulf the viewer, placing you “Just Below the Surface”.
Varisco has been a working artist for over two decades. While known primarily as a photographer, Varisco redefines the medium by creating photo-based assemblages, and site-specific installations that function in accordance with her still photographs, and remains active professionally.
As a native New Orleanian, Varisco’s work is centered around the human relationship and interaction with the environment, specifically water, and the effects that one has on the other. After experiencing the destruction of the failed levees during Hurricane Katrina, much of Varisco’s work has focused on the fact that water not only sustains, but also has the ability to devastate communities and their beloved land.
The rhythmic repetition of her work is seamlessly presented in polyptychs and installations to parallel the natural patterns of water. The photographs, silk installments, and assemblage of objects come together to reflect the pack-and-go mindset that is so normalized to those living in an evacuation environment.
In “Just Below the Surface” Varisco takes the seriousness of environmental and personal themes and creates a whimsical experience she calls “magical realism”. “We’re losing our heritage land. In a desperation to communicate the fix we’re in, I just took everybody under water with me; fast-forwarding into a modern-day Atlantis,” explains Varisco.
St. Tammany Art Association (STAA) will host an opening reception on Saturday, February 9, 2019 from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. The exhibit will be on display through March 30, 2019 in the Miriam Barranger Gallery at STAA. A Gallery Talk with Michel Varisco will take place at the Art House on Sunday, March 24, at 4:00pm.
Varisco has an extensive exhibition record. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally and is included in public, private, and corporate collections in the United States and abroad such as the National Library of Paris, the Surdna Foundation collection, and more. Her work has been exhibited in The Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, The Schneider Gallery in Chicago, Soho Photo Gallery in New York, San Lorenzo Hall in Venice, and The Hague in the Netherlands, to name a few.
The St Tammany Art Association would like to thank Mo’s Art Supply for generously donating the framing for the Burke exhibition