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The large format paintings of Anna Pagnucci, art professor at Ashford University, will be on display in an exhibit called “Tagging, Beyond the Street” in Ashford’s Cortona Art Gallery through March 31. A reception for the artist will be held on Monday, March 14 from 3-4 p.m. in the gallery with an artist talk planned for 3:30 p.m.
“’Chi sono?’ Who am I? An immigrant’s daughter,” Pagnucci said in her artist’s statement. “My father was born in a small mountain village in Tuscany. There the light is golden and bright. My father, a poet and English professor, raised my brothers and me with the vibrancy and color of the Italian culture but in the neutral light and long, dark winters of rural Wisconsin. His poetry and the musical language of my Italian relatives and their vivacious cooking made our simple lives rich, even during the long dark winters.”
She said her artworks “search for that cultural color and the struggle to reconcile it with life in the Midwest. Thus, my paintings become saturated with flaming colors that reflect an Italian-American heritage, but are contrasted with cold, dark areas – a Midwest flavor of the landscape in which I grew up. I try to evoke the feeling and spirit of the land and its people. I develop intense, rich surface texture and combine it with fleeting, subtle forms of branches and blood vessels. It’s as if you sense an idea or a line of poetry or song, which reminds you of something you can’t remember but can’t let drop.”
Pagnucci’s artwork primarily focuses on emotionalism and color through abstraction in an energetic liquid style, though she also does figurative portrait work to maintain freshness in teaching. Her artwork is part of various private and public collections, including The Racine Art Museum, We-Energies, the Kenosha Care Center, Haskris Presidential Collection, Presidential Collection Platinum Design and Development, and the Hayward Memorial Hospital. Her gallery representation has included Monfort’s Gallery and the Northern Lights Gallery in Racine, WI; Portal Wisconsin through the Wisconsin Arts Board; the Iowa Arts Council; and the Stuart Saatchi Gallery of London, England.
Pagnucci earned her bachelor’s degree in art, summa cum laude, with a minor in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. She received a master of arts in art history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a focus on Baroque, Italian Renaissance, Gothic Architecture, and Photography. Pagnucci also has a master of fine arts in painting and drawing from The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Her publications include Chi è? The Spirit of Mia Familia; Light, Color, Glass: Pattern of Illumination; Bacchus, God of Pleasure and Excess; and 100 Artists of the Midwest as well as cover illustrations for Tracks on Damp Sand, Firstborn, and Breath of the Onion, all from North Star Press, MN; Rogue Holler Blues, Sisyphus Press, State College PA; and Zombie Apocalypse, McFarland Press.
The Cortona Art Gallery is located on the second floor of Ashford University’s St. Clare Hall at 400 North Bluff Boulevard in Clinton. The gallery is named for Sister Cortona
Phelan, OSF, former president of Mount St. Clare College (MSC) and former president of the Sisters of St. Francis. For many years, Sister Cortona influenced the quality of education at the college through her teaching of American history and her love of the arts. She also served as MSC Academy principal and as dean of students at the college.
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