Giampa’s Doctoral Exhibition in Mason Hall Alumni Atrium

Posted: March 26, 2010 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: March 25, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Mason’s School of Art presents Joan Marie Giampa’s doctoral exhibition, “Image Archaeology,” which runs now through through Friday, April 2, in the Mason Hall Alumni Atrium Gallery on Mason’s Fairfax Campus.

A Washington, D.C., area painter, Giampa has exhibited extensively in the mid-Atlantic region throughout the past 20 years.

Giampa’s calls her painting process “image archaeology” and refers to herself as an “image archaeologist.” Her personal iconography is based on the discovery of objects in nature in their native environment.

“After finding an object, I take it home and digitize it with my camera,” Giampa says.

“I then manipulate the photo in Photoshop to uncover the object’s underlying structure. The uncovering process is really a series of filters that I use in Photoshop to remove the object’s ‘outer skin’ and reveal its ‘skeleton.’ Once I feel I have the ‘skeleton’ I can then take the image to canvas.”

At this stage, Giampa staples wet gessoed canvas onto her studio wall and projects the image onto the canvas.

Then she carves into the wet gessoed canvas with the butt of a paintbrush an imprint of the ‘image skeleton.’ She scrubs into the surface ground with multiple layers of paint and rubs paint into the grooves of the dried gesso surface.

Additional layers of paint are then brushed lightly over the beveled edges of the image to unearth the skeletal impression. More layers of paint are brushed on and wiped away as the image becomes the surface ground and the surface ground becomes the image.

“It is this process of digging into the canvas and discovering the object within the corporeal ground that makes it ‘image archaeology,’” Giampa says.

Giampa has an MFA in painting from the University of Maryland. She is a candidate in the Doctorate of Arts Community College Education program at Mason and will advance to candidacy in the summer of 2010.

She is the owner and operator of the Red Caboose Gallery in historic downtown Vienna, Va., and president of the Arts Alliance of Vienna.

For further information, contact Giampa at 703-349-7178 or To view images of Giampa’s work, see her web site.

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