Friday, May 29, 2009

Fontbonne University- Gina T. Alvarez

EXHIBITING GALLERY: Fontbonne University Art Gallery

TITLE OF SHOW: Sift, Measure, Cultivate

OPENING DATE AND CLOSING DATE: August 28th, 2009 - September 27th, 2009

Opening Reception: August 28th, 2009 from 6 to 8 pm

Artist Talk: September 26th, 2009 at 4 pm in the gallery

Workshop: October 3rd, 2009 from 9 am to 3 pm

SHORT BYLINE/ DESCRIPTION OF SHOW: three artists: Courtney Henson, Erin Cork and Gina Alvarez, will exhibit a collection of recent work

Fontbonne University Art Gallery
6800 Wydown Bvld.
St. Louis, Missouri 63105

a little about me: Gina Alvarez

i was born in racine wisconsin in 1974. i have one younger brother - peter. we had an amazing childhood. we lived in a neighborhood that was safe and there were tons of kids. i literally was supposed to be home when the street lights came on. we had so much freedom. i was a gymnast and a diver. i considered applying to the naval academy (although i doubt i would have gotten in) because they had/have an amazing diving program. thank god that didn't happen. all throughout high school i took ceramic and jewelry making classes. i also took typing. for some reason this tid bit is a formative element in my life. i went to college for a couple years after high school and droped out for 5. worked in a plywood factory, grocery store, book store, peanut shop and did the obligatory babysitting gig here and there.

i lived in charleston sc and to this day miss it something terrible. i rode my bike everywhere. i miss living in a pedestrian culture. i spent time in italy - rode my bike everywhere there as well. in my mind charleston and florence are the same. my independance and love of place was born out of these two cities. 

i have lived in st. louis, mo for 8 years. we came here for graduate school. i attended wash u and received a masters in printmaking/drawing. i can't believe we still live here. i live in dogtown and love it. i have a beautiful (small) home and love to garden. my husband is a high school spanish teacher. we have a 3yr old son named oscar and two cats - mo mo and ce ce (moses and seymour). i am thrilled that i am still making art. one of my biggest worries is that i will never live up to my true potential. i think i get closer every day - every project and every relationship.

here is a video of what i am up to in the studio:

i also attached two images of the doillies (doillie+sky and doillie closeup)

two images of my favorite things:
one is a bird my grandfather started carving for me but didn't finished - that is okay, i like the roughness of it - his pencil marks are still where the feathers should be carved. i used to sit with him and whittle away at wood. he was a great craftsman.

the other my grandmother's sewing box. the two of us would spend hours at the sewing machine. my grandmother was an extremely talented lady.

websites i can't live with out:

new obsessions:

i am pretty fluid when it comes to working in the studio. i have to have a lot of "materials" at hand. i have an amazing tray full of discarded bits and pieces. a lot of it is hand printed materials that have been cut up and used in other works. i don't really throw anything away. i think that there is always a use. i adopt the same responsibility when it comes to previous projects, installations or works on paper. all of it is fair game so to speak. i enjoy the recycling of ideas and materials. 

when it comes to generating images or ideas it is just that - generating. i generate through working. often i don't have a set idea when i begin any one thing. the idea/project is born out of the process of creating. in most cases it is like a puzzle. i create the pieces and then i put them together. the information that is solid in my mind from the get go is often the size of the space that i would like to fill or the size of the installation/work on paper that i would like to create. then i dive in. i work with repetition quite often so a number usually stands out. i like to trick myself into thinking i need to create way more than i actually do. this is to prevent self editing to set in early on. there is no bad idea - all roads lead to something worth exploring. 

having exciting materials at hand helps make this possible. it is important to me to use materials that offer the chance to transcend their original purpose. if i see the potential in a material to offer something that is unexpected then i know i have something to work with. i love materials - soap, latex, paper, handmade paper, fabric, horse hair, clay and lights. i think that working heavily (for me) with materials is a strategy that i have created for myself that allows me to make mistakes. drawing seems really precious to me and i can get really nervous if i have to put pencil to paper but if i sew into the paper, which functions exactly like a drawn mark, then i feel more at ease. so i draw with materials, i draw 3 dimensionally. i love it. 

okay, i am going on and on. this is really enlightening to me. i am going to stop here. i am super thrilled to be a part of innovations. i am excited to work with courtney henson and erin cork. i think that they are super talented ladies and i a look forward to our exhibition. 

that is how i function!
- gina t alvarez


  1. i though i would share this nice blog post about the work that jana harper and gina alvarez did in dc at pyramid atlantic. have a look.

  2. Gina Alvarez is teaching a workshop at the St. Louis Artists' Guild as part of our Nimble Finger Series. She is presenting basic wet felting techniques on September 24th. Please visit the St. Louis Artists' Guild's website for more information on this workshop series:
    (copy and paste the address into your browser)