WITH over 100 paintings and sculptures sold to Australian and overseas patrons and a career stretching back over 18 years, Joan Costanzo feels that she has the right to call herself an “emerging” artist.It’s a kind of joke, if you think about it, but in Costanzo’s first solo exhibition, “Reality Check” opening today at Kaori Gallery in Civic, she feels at long last that he has the freedom to express herself.
Over the past 18 years, Costanzo has exhibited regularly with groups, but now with the scope to do her own thing, she says she’ll be exhibiting “lily pads, nudes, aerial landscape and flights of whimsy” in a selection of works that range between reality and Abstract Expressionism.
Unsurprisingly, in recent years, Costanzo has been an exhibiting member of the Artists Society of Canberra’s abstract and experimental group, but her practice has ranged far and wide, from her early years as a child artist to her studes at Perth Modern School and then to a long affair with sculpture.
In the early 1970s Costanzo studied sculpture with Jan Brown and Ante Dabro at the old Canberra School of Art. From 1972 to 1982 she studied industrial Oxywelding and fine metalwork at Canberra TAFE, winning along the way the Canberra Day Sculpture competition in 1974 with a steel sculpture. “Lake Burley Griffin”.
She has exhibited regularly with the Tin Shed Art Group and executed a wall mural for the Chinese Australian Early Childhood Association’s childcare centre in Mawson. The list goes on.
Now that Costanzo is in a position to do her own thing, she feels free to experiment with colour and techniques, saying to herself “why not take the risk?” As for her paintings’ relationship to reality, she likes to quote British artist Francis Bacon’s comment, “images are a shorthand for reality.” And that gives her all the freedom she wants.
“Reality Check,” opening at 6pm today at Canberra City Framing Gallery’s Kaori Gallery on the corner of London’s Circuit and Hobart Place, Civic. All welcome. Runs until September 28, Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 5:30 PM and Saturday, 9 AM to 1PM.