Nature Doesn’t Need Us

Beatrix Ost
Beatrix Ost and Michelle Gagliano

Artists Michelle Gagliano and Beatrix Ost are collaborating on a body of work in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic. Inspired by the differing narratives in one another’s work, the artists aim to listen and respond to each other, similar to the “call and response” arrangement found in jazz music. The culmination of their collaboration will result in multiple works created together, as well as their individual work juxtaposed and exhibited together. Conscious of how few female artist collaborations there have been in the past 50 years, Gagliano and Ost are having a “conversation” through the shared canvas. While Ost’s work belongs to the surrealists, Gagliano’s work belongs to the abstracted landscape. The combination of the two narratives makes visible their connection on canvas and sculpture.

Project Meeting with TOROSIETE

The execution of their collaborative works not only make a statement about the environmental impacts of humans, but the execution of these works also share this focus. The works created for this exhibition have all been created from natural materials, repurposed paintings, and found objects. Both Ost and Gagliano’s new collaborative works are devoid of all toxic materials, introducing instead ground pigments, oils and solvents based on nuts and lavender, the red earth of Virginia, and handmade gessoes. It is not lost on them both that this replicates what Leonardo DaVinci, Raphael and other masters used in their time. It is also not lost that this choice underscores the lifestyle of sustainability to which Gagliano and Ost both became accustomed to as children growing up on a farm – Gagliano in up-sate New York and Ost in post World War II torn Germany.

Beatrix Ost in her Studio

Collaboration as an Act of Intimacy: The vision is to show the connectedness between humans and nature – the psychological influence of the seasons, and the power of two minds. Many of the collaborative paintings were created using a technique that artists call “Cadaver
Exquisite” to create together in a chamber of intimate respect. Ost and Gagliano would pass paintings back and forth without explanation or instruction – for a common thought of impact.

These works celebrate humans and nature in all in that shared unspeakable yearning of survival. The vision of this exhibition is a teaching one. Gagliano is the alchemist of light and Ost is the visionary of the future.

The exhibition opens in the abstract and falls into surrealism as a manifest of surprise, into the museum’s catalog of our mind. Reality is the only moment that is true; everything else is surreal.

Daring to Be, daring to Become. Anger is a tremendous energy source; some use it as a fire to burn and destroy, others use it as fuel to build and ignite. But, the beauty of sitting with an empty mind, there is no place an artist would rather be than here, and now, so the artist can see herself where they all together are.


Michelle Gagliano in Studio

This exhibition will take viewers on a surreal journey through the urgent message told from the works.


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