Lisa Venditelli

Award: Second Prize

Pages from the Book of Souls (2013)
sausage gut, soles, images, paint
66 x 59.5 in.

Female Identity. Birth. Death. Redemption. Martyrdom. Purification. My art incorporates Feminism, themes of domesticity, body image, and the female experience. Added to them is the quirky twist of my Italian American background. That juxtaposition naturally creates more humor than angst. In my work false eyelashes become a drawing of a Saint, and lasagna becomes wallpaper and a bikini. Role models for women range from The Madonna on one hand and Sophia Loren on the other. As a woman you are expected to encompass both.

Though the subject of my work (be it feminine, political or current events) may vary, the process is always the same as in caring for others. An integral part of my labor intensive work is the step by step preparation needed to create it. By altering common objects or applying divine imagery to them, those objects are transformed into a more individual, sacred object. These unlikely combinations naturally create humor, transform the objects into shrines, and define the absurdity of expectations, stereotypes and roles against which women in my Italian American culture are measured.

For me anger is not a productive emotion. Often people are willing to examine tougher issues when they are approached with humor, just as beauty can seduce the viewer to examine more closely a repulsive subject. If one can get people to look and consider, then maybe can society’s attitude toward women be altered. In this new body of work all the pieces are not exclusively Italian, though that culture and influence still play a role in its creation. (CA)

© Lisa Venditelli