Undercurrent will draw you in….  

New work by painter Alicia Zanoni is the main attraction for HCA’s September First Friday opening. Highlighting an evening filled to the brim with engaging art, Zanoni’s work floods the Harrison Gallery with watery images in every shade of blue from deepest indigo to bright cerulean. The images, both abstract and realistic, are poured from an imagination awash in receding memories and with the rawness of deep seated doubt and bared emotion rendered as mist, fog, waves, and clouds.

Some people are born artists, Alicia Zanoni is one of them. She spent her early childhood in Detroit, then her family moved to Tennessee. Alicia drew and painted constantly. One family story describes her at the age of 6 drawing a picture of a horse inspired by a book she had read.  Alicia spent more than 8 hours working on that one special image.  Her mother thought any child who could apply that level of concentration to a single project was rare and should be encouraged. So Alicia was enrolled in art classes. She found the programs available for kids under 12 to be too simple and so she went to classes for older people - much older. “One winter my Mom drove 4 hours so I could take a portrait painting workshop at a really good art center in another city. Most of the people there were retirement age, you know - 60 to 70. I was the youngest person in the class (Zanoni was 8 at the time) It was great!”

Fast forward to college when Alicia attended Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Tenn. on a painting scholarship.. The art program at Covenant is known for its focus on basic studio practice and individual goal setting. After graduating, she worked at a part time a job for a non-profit organization called Hope for the Inner City in Chattanooga. That work was interesting, but her goal was to be a full time artist so she applied for an internship at the Harrison Center for the Arts working on placemaking projects in the Maple Crossing neighborhood. At the end of her internship, Alicia felt so connected to the Harrison Center that she decided to make Indianapolis her home. She set up a studio and now works every day painting and drawing. In the short time she has been here Alicia has participated in a number of shows including a sold out solo show in Hank & Dolly’s Gallery.

While she is thrilled and deeply honored to have a solo show at the opening of the season at the Harrison Gallery, she confesses to being a bit intimidated by the prospect. “When I first started thinking about this upcoming show, I couldn’t decide on anything. Finally I realized I had to just start and ‘trust the process,’ a phrase I first heard from Anthony Vasquesz and one that has helped me problem solve with a brush in hand instead of getting trapped in the paralysis of thinking. I’ve always loved to paint, but I’ve only discovered this past year how to paint from my heart. I don’t use many photos anymore, because I’m trying to evoke an experience I feel inside instead of describing a place outside. I think this is one of the reasons I’ve started wiping paint off between layers - it’s a lot like life to receive and lose things. The push and pull, the gift and loss, wonder and discovery is what I’m after, and somehow all the work for this show is starting to feel connected.”

You can connect with Alicia’s work at the opening reception for Undercurrent at the Harrison Gallery, Friday September 1st from 6 to 10pm.  The show will run through September 29th.