Linda Ippolito and THREAD.

Linda Ippolito stands in front of her piece Tessuti Mondi – The BrassWorks Gallery presents “THREAD,” the new work of artists Nora Chavooshian and Linda Ippolito.
NEIL GRABOWSKY/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL

THREAD
Through March 9
The BrassWorks Gallery, 105 Grove St.
7 a.m.-7 p.m.

By GIOYA MCRAE

A chance meeting in Whole Foods sparked the artist collaboration “THREAD: The new work of Nora Chavooshian and Linda Ippolito.”

At the opening reception at BrassWorks Gallery, 105 Grove St., on Friday, Jan. 19, sculptor Chavooshian said: “Linda and I have known each other for years through the art community. It just so happened that Linda got a show here. About six months ago we just ran into each other, and I said, ‘I haven’t shown in a long time. If you need somebody and you’d like to show with me, I would do it.’ She loved the idea, so we ended up doing this show together.

“Our work is very different, but there is a thread that connects it in the color, and I was just starting to use some textile pieces in my work. So there’s a difference, but there’s a thread.”

Linda Ippolito said: “‘THREAD,’ for myself, is the evolution of my work. The growth of my work is all about the landscape. If you look at my work from 10 years ago to today, you see it continuing. You see fibers growing; you see it becoming more abstract, always relating to the light, always carrying the past into the present.”   

As well as being a visual artist, Chavooshian teaches production design at Montclair State and has worked in the film and theater industry. “The world gets explained to me visually,” she said. “So whatever it is, it’s got to be visual.”

The exhibition, which runs through March 9, includes a mix of artwork. Chavooshian’s sculptures range in size up to “These Days,” a massive wall sculpture, most pieces incorporating cracks that reveal hidden elements.

“I have chosen clay because it’s very facile, it’s very forgiving,” Chavooshian said. “Then I can take a mold and cast and make it more permanent. In my latest works, I’ve been inducing cracks. I’m trying to urge the clay to do its own natural cracking, which is harder than one might think. So I had to come up with a formula with dried clays and I had to add additives that really help the clay to crack.”

Nora Chavooshian and THREAD
Sculptor Nora Chavooshian stands in front of “Water.” NEIL GRABOWSKY/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL

While surmounting material challenges, Chavooshian also works through any creative blocks with music. “I somehow stumble upon a piece of music that emotionally resonates with the piece that I’m working on,” she said. “Then I’ll just play that one piece of music on a loop over and over again. I couldn’t even hum it for you or even remember what the piece was once I’m done with the work. I’m not listening to it in my brain. It’s just sort of going through my nervous system. So when I go into the studio, it just sends me right back into that state of mind. Then I can be a little faster and fluid.”

Ippolito’s oil and collage pieces reflect her personal experiences in her travels, she said. Although Ippolito has multiple favorites, “Reflections,” an oil and collage on panel, represents an actual Italian landscape and a memory. “In this one, I work from a photograph that I took in Italy. When I was there, I liked to be set in one place. I didn’t like to move. So I’d get very, very familiar with the field. When I’m home and I look at those pictures, I‘m back there. I can transcend back there. That’s what allows me to paint like this in the studio. I also listened to soft Italian music when I worked. Music is very important.”

Ippolito’s connection to nature shines through in her use of rice papers, acrylic mediums and waxes. “I love my papers,” she said. “I have a collection for many, many years that are all handmade, not by me, but from all over the world. I will also incorporate prints that I’ve done or pieces of a small painting that is not a keeper. I’ll rip it up and throw it in the box. It will come up somewhere else. I don’t throw anything away.”