Featuring acrylic paintings and gouache works on paper.
(December 26, 2022) M A R A Art Studio + Gallery opens the new year with “Lisa DiFranza,” featuring acrylic paintings and gouache works on paper. The exhibit runs January 11-25, with an opening reception on Friday, January 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The gallery is at 1421 5th Street, Rosemary District, Sarasota. For more information, call (941) 914-8110 or visit MaraStudioGallery.com.
In 2021, the artist’s solo exhibit at the MARA Art Studio + Gallery featured 365 paintings created and posted daily during the first year of the pandemic. “As I continue to be inspired by the shapes and colors of boats, water and the enormous Florida sky, the big surprise is that humans have begun to populate my paintings, as if joining the world again,” says Di Franza. “The paintings in this new show are born of a new time, as we emerge after the crisis and isolation of the pandemic. We are face to face with each other again. Our re-entry into the world has propelled us all to reimagine our lives and reimagine the future. Where do we belong? What are we waiting for? How do we reconnect? Are we finding our way back to the familiar or blazing new pathways? What happens next?”
Lisa DiFranza was raised in New York City in a family of artists. She remembers watching her dad sketch characters and scenes in their neighborhood, attending live theater, and her parents encouraging her to create her own artistic expressions. Her love of both visual and performing arts led her to pursue a career as a professional theater director and educator. Painting, for years, was her avocation.
In 2017, DiFranza joined the opening team at Art Ovation Hotel in Sarasota, as the founding cultural curator. Eager to meet the challenge of weaving visual, media and performing arts into a commercial public setting, she devised and created a robust and diverse arts program. DiFranza managed large exhibitions, invited performance and media artists to showcase their work, led workshops, and launched an active guest artist program. For over two years, she hosted artists every week in the hotel’s working lobby studio. In March 2020, when the Covid-19 health crisis forced a lockdown, DiFranza cracked open a neglected set of gouache paints and got to work in her kitchen “studio.” The 365 “dailies” she created during the first year of the pandemic became a diary, reflecting internal thoughts and dreams, daily surroundings, the strange isolation that marked the year, and the larger political landscape.
DiFranza has recently shown at Art Ovation Studio Gallery, Cottonmouth Southern Soul Food Kitchen, Baobab Gallery, and Saks Fifth Avenue, at UTC Mall, Sarasota. Her work has been seen in group shows at ArtCenter Manatee, Art Center Sarasota, MARA Art Studio + Gallery, and Ad Hoc Collective. Her paintings can be found in private collections throughout the United States.
Torres González explains that her gallery is also “a home for special events and celebrations. I strongly believe in the power of community. During this coming year, we will be focusing on collaborating with area artists groups and organizations, including Ringling College, New College and The Ringling. I’m also looking forward to exhibiting some of my newer works in solo shows.”