Tripper Dungan, Diana Grappasonno, Amy Novelli & Joshua Williams

Archived: June 28th - July 24th, 2007

Tripper Dungan resides in Portland, OR. He often paints children, who in Trippers opinion are better than most at “making believe”. At least a little imaginative thinking and daydreaming are important for one’s balanced mental health. Tippers work frequents the insect world–after all we we’re all once little guys seeing things from different points of view. Clouds are very inspiring to him, with their ever changing forms and shapes–one moment there’s a bubbly white jalopy, the next a great dane floats by wearing a top hat.

Diana Grappasonno has been painting and doing art for many years, but her education and professional work history are in scientific disciplines. Diana’s degree is in Biology and she spent 4 1/2 years working in a crime lab. She has a deep appreciation for scientific methods and environmentalism and her background has affected both the content and the style of her work. Philosophy, psychology, mythology, symbolism, feminism, sociopolitical issues, pop culture, current events, and her personal life (many pieces are autobiographical in nature) also have shaped the direction of her work. She spent years (at the lab) examining things very closely to isolate increasingly smaller bits of information. She likes using scraps of typewritten paper and pictures under a layer of tissue and paint so you have to look really closely to see it. Sometimes these bits have information relating to the content of the painting, but often they don’t. The result is reminiscent of urban decay and litter- both literally and figuritively. We’re so inundated with advertising messages and information nowadays that our brains and eyes are cluttered with it. Diana is also intrigued by the interaction of seemingly unconnected and/or meaningless items and symbols- She thinks it contributes an element of surrealism (and existentialism) to a piece. She likes imagery that is visually striking but also conveys a mood. Diana like a little ugliness mixed in with beauty, and she likes stories. Diana’s goal is to create the artistic equivalent to mole sauce- a perfectly balanced and complicated mixture of numerous elements consisting of form, line, composition, color interactions, lightness and darkness, texture, layers, media, mood/emotion, meaning, and little visual details. She wants to cause a reaction on all the parts of a persons’ mental tongue. One of the themes she has chosen to focus on in her current body of work is animals- many are endangered species, while some are common, domesticated or even mythological. She’s interested in exploring human/animal relationships, from both a psychological and an ecological perspective. Diana’s intent is to inspire an appreciation for biodiversity, while evoking delight in the visual elements and emotion in response to the content.

Amy Novelli grew up in Ohio and Pennsylvania riding ponies, collecting tadpoles, falling down rabbit holes, reading about lions and tigers and bears, and watching baptist ministers scream about the devil while drawing all things furry and feathered, but mostly ponies. By-passing an almost equal desire to become a professional horse trainer after a glorious 4-H Horse Show career, Amy dove into all things ART at the Columbus (Ohio) College of Art & Design where she began channeling Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, El Greco and Picasso influxed by smokin’ drinkin’ cussin’ and punk rock. Less ponies, lots of nude figures that resembled herself and her friends in an apocalyptic nightmare. Novelli then moved to New York City, worked for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and her paintings became permanently “psychedelicized” by funk, underground cartoons, graffitti, tattoo flash, and, well psychedelics. Less nude figures, lots of toothy animals pretending to eat each other up. After traveling to Berlin to paint the remaining stretch of “The Wall” and experiencing an entire Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, Novelli settled in Pittsburgh as the resident hillbilly punk public art grad student at Carnegie Mellon University where she painted murals, painted her car, instigated Halloween parades, designed nite club holiday decor and DJ’d for the local community radio station, but ultimately returned to really big paintings of animals that became actors portraying the artist’s animaniac psyche influenced by Native American Trickster (Coyote) mythology, Karl Jung and Joseph Campbell. After having some Coyote Dreams, Novelli had to go find real ones so she ended up in Tucson, Arizona, adopted two BLM Mustang horses and now rides the desert among giant saguaro cactus, mule deer, jack rabbits, gila monsters, rattlers and coyotes. She dreams of making Portland or the Oregon Coast her next adventure, especially in June when the Tucson temperature can hit 115 F. Amy often pays the rent as a scenic painter and “human xerox machine”, lettering signs, building props, painting giant backdrops for the theatre and bands like Calexico, fixing murals and faux finishing walls. Since her scenic work has encompassed every style and subject matter, so has her own art. Cartoon animal cutouts, bucking horses and western nostalgia, disappearing coyotes, paper mache puppets, photographic portraits, etc. With more galleries representing her work, this year marks Novelli’s departure into full time studio painting, so for this Portland Goodfoot show Amy chose to concentrate on her latest obsession, abstraction and a new medium, molten beeswax encaustic painting, though the show includes acrylic, oil, collage, watercolor and drawings. Amy’s influences lately are the cartoon expressionism of Philip Guston and the painted poems of Kenneth Patchen, grand daddy of the beat poets and said by Henry Miller to be the only great thing to come out of Warren Ohio, her home town. The poems used in some are haikus written by her brother John Paul Novelli, DJ and guardian angel of Beaulahland down the street.

Joshua C. Williams (pictured) was born deep in northern Minnesota though he’s spent the majority of his life in Rhode Island and Colorado. He’s living in Portland, OR now. Joshua never had any formal schooling in art, or anything else for that matter. He “gets his ideas from his surroundings”. When he said that I automatically thought of a leech.