Art Gallery Hosts “Illuminated Desires”

Parisah Robinson

The Saddleback College Art Gallery is featuring the poetry and photography of artist Lisa Folino through Oct. 9. Entitled Illuminated Desires: From the Sea to the Light, the exhibit is comprised of two photographic portfolios by the artist. The first, Love Songs from the Sea, is a series of self-portraits shot with a digital camera. The second, Shadows and Light, is a series of still life photos taken with a Polaroid camera and self developing film.

Galley curator Irini Vallera Rickerson describes Folino’s work as being an “exploration into matters of the heart”.

Folino was born and raised in Southern California. Under the guidance of her father, she took an early interest in photography. She attended both the Berklee School of Music and Orange Cost College. Her work has been featured in numerous gallery exhibitions throughout the United States, including a permanent collection in the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a First Place Nonprofessional Photographer of the Year: Fine Art at the 2005 IPA Awards for Shadows and Light, and has received wide recognition of her work, beginning with She Doesn’t Remember, a series prompted by the onset of Alzheimer’s in her grandmother. Her artwork has been published in several magazines, including Black & White, Camera Arts and the Greek art and photography publication, AntiLipseis.

Shadows and Light, was inspired by Indonesian shadow theatre. They are shadows of miscellaneous objects and the meaning can be interpreted in many different ways. Folino says, “I became fascinated with the ideas of reality and perception and how they are interpreted by the unconscious mind.”

Love Songs from the Sea was inspired from letters she wrote to a loved one. Through her digitally manipulated self portraits that use symbolic representations and metaphors appropriated from Greek mythology, she tries to capture her inner feelings. “The images represent the complexities of memory, desire, and melancholy”, writes Folino. The photos are emblematic and the poetry posted next to the artwork adds to the meaning of the photo.

Overall, the show was enjoyable, well-staged and visually interesting. Folino’s poetry went a long way in giving meaning to her Love Song images; it was more difficult to attach a more emotional involvement with the images from Shadows and Light. This is not to say they were not of excellent quality; it’s just that they did not reveal much of the artist and as such did not evoke a personal connection within me. As technical stagings, however, they were of superlative quality.

One presentation titled Beneath the Sea, shows the artist drowning under a blue sheet.

This photo it is easily relatable, everyone feels like they are drowning at some point in their life. The majority of the other photos are dark and Folino’s face is turned away or not shown, but in this one, her entire body is naked, showing a subdued feeling as well as vulnerability at the same time.

The Gallery is open on Mon.-Wed. 12 noon – 4pm; Thu. 4pm – 8pm; and Sept. 27 10am – 2pm. Construction has made the main entrance inaccessible, but there is an easy-to-find path that leads to the back door entrance.

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