Life Cycle combines copies of fragments from musical scores, which I have used while singing in concerts with The New Haven Chorale, with fragments of medical X-Rays to create four distinctive collages.
A separate light box illuminates each collage. Collectively, these collages depict a four part Life Cycle: Overture; Life; Death; and Variations on a Theme. Each collage has copies of fragments from my musical score imbedded in it. These fragments enhance, personalize and correlate with each collage's title.
Overture includes fragments from the Chichester Psalms score by Bernstein.
Birth includes fragments from the Creation score by Haydn.
Death includes fragments from the Requiem score by Brahms.
Variations on a Theme includes fragments from The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass score by Barnett.
Animal and human X-Rays (radiographs), X-Rays of DNA sequencing gels, X-Rays of cells growing in Petri dishes, X-Rays of medical research, photography tape, canvas, suturing materials, India inks, oil sticks and fragments from musical scores are used to create these 48 inch long collages. The four light boxes were given to me by a printer/ photographer, who no longer had use for them. Their original use is particularly fitting, since my artistic objective for over twenty years has been to investigate the relationship of medical X-Rays to photography.
This series examines the similarities between art and music: composition, notation, form, rhythm, style, color, line, texture, notation, emotional impact, and meaning.
Each of the four collages is displayed on a separate light box in the middle of a gallery, while large colorized prints created from the original collages are installed on the gallery walls. The music that inspired this work plays in the gallery.
Lois Goglia is an artist that is doing it her way. She has chosen an medium that is unique and overlooked. She has taken x-rays and tranformed them into works of art. Utilizing the naturally occurring forms and translucence of these images to create other-worldly pieces. Her work graces the cover this month. Very cool indeed!
s When Lois Goglia's husband Ed graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, the first words out of her mouth were not" Congratulations." Instead she said, "Now it's my turn."Goglia had worked tirelessly for eight years as an elementary school teacher to help her husband achieve his dream of becoming a veterinarian, but she had a dream of her own. Goglia wanted to become an artist and go to art school.
She enrolled in the MALS (Master of Arts in Liberal Studies) program at Wesleyan University in Middletown and immersed herself in art. As part of her curriculum, her studies were enhanced with field trips to SoHo in New York City. In the early 1980s, SoHo was still a happening place filled with avant garde artists and art galleries before it became gentrified. Goglia was required to write reviews on the exhibitions she attended. These sojourns challenged her to think about art in a very different way that would ultimately influence her own work.
"In SoHo, conceptual art was just beginning. I became interested in the meaning behind the work and how it reflected the culture we live in," said Goglia."I had been fiddling around with oil painting at home. But my work was more traditional and it could have been done a hundred years before by people like Van Gogh, the impressionists or the fauvists. I did not want to do what had been done before, so I stopped painting, which was really hard for me."
Goglia was uncertain artistically about what direction to go in next. One day while visiting her husband at his office she saw an x-ray of an animal positioned on a light box. She noted how it contained all the elements (lines, shapes, value, and texture) that are necessary for creating a visually compelling photograph or piece of art . She pondered further the relationship between x-rays and photography and how through this medium we are able to glimpse inside a human's or animal's body.
"From the Renaissance period and before, people were dissecting the human body to get images of the inside. Now here is another way of looking at the interior without using a scalpel. That changed the way people thought about themselves when they could actually see pictures," Goglia said.
She also thought about the correlation between x-rays and the meanings and symbols that lay behind them. And how, with the advent of digital cameras and computerized x-rays, the traditional photographic film x-ray, which had existed for over 100 years, had been rendered obsolete.
"Since most people don't have an x-ray taken if they are feeling good, it is usually a harbinger of a problem. It brings in ideas of death and disease," said Goglia.
Seven years after an animal dies, its x-rays can be released. For her first solo exhibition at the Zilkha Gallery in Middletown, Goglia painted on the animal radiographs she received from her husband and turned them into large scale collages, measuring six feet by nine feet.
For her next series, she decided to abandon painting altogether and instead, utilized only the radiographs. She was able to get her hands on some DNA sequencing gels and x-rays of Petri dishes from a neighboring medical school. She also acquired a few MRI scans of humans and animals, mammograms and ultrasounds. She was ecstatic.
"Some were from Yale Research and even had writing on them where the researchers were trying to make decisions about what the research meant," said Goglia.
Combining all these different components, Goglia created a new body of work entitled "Genesis" that chronicles the beginning of life from the growth of individual cells through to the development of a full-term fetus. She took 18 light boxes and hung them sequentially on a wall in a darkened room. Upon each light box she placed one x-ray collage, each becoming thicker and more built up as the series advanced. The first collage contained the single cells of the Petri dish, and progressed to a mammogram of a woman's breast, to an abstraction of a man's penis, and finally to the last image which revealed a woman's pelvis embracing her unborn child.
"Those 18 images were shown at the Housatonic Museum of Art In Bridgeport in a room that was pitch black except for the light boxes. The electric cords going to the light boxes were strung in such a way that they mirrored a spinal column or an umbilical cord," said Goglia said who also exhibited "Genesis" at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven.
After the" Genesis" show came down, Goglia took the x-ray collages off the light boxes, photographed them, and then downloaded the images onto her computer. She printed the images onto paper using primarily the natural colors seen in the original" Genesis" collages: shades of black, white, and sometimes aqua. But the colors in these prints were modified to enhance their composition and emphasize their medical imagery. She named this series "Insight" . The "Insight" prints won an international award. The prize was the privilege of exhibiting that work at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, NY.
Goglia then began to wonder what would happen if she colorized the same downloaded images from "Insight", but dramatically alter them by infusing them with saturated, vibrant, computer manipulated colors. Goglia worked with Charul Kothari who is well versed in the field of digital imagining. She determined how the shapes should be stretched, positioned, colored, darkened and lightened, and then had Charul execute her choices on the computer.
The result is a series called "X-rays in Living Color" which is on display until August 15 at Elle Design Studio, an interior design studio and specialty home furnishings shop in Chester Center located at 14 Main Street.
"During the opening reception and throughout the exhibition, a common reaction has been about how natural the pieces look in the studio. The vibrant colors leap off the pewter colored walls, and relate with pops of color in the furniture and accessories. The white mattes accent the crisp white molding perfectly. Visitors have gotten a chance to see how these pieces look in a non-gallery setting, which makes it a really unique show," said Erica Edwards, proprietor of Elle Design.
"I also showed some whimsical musings at Elle Design. The way they came about was I decided to blow up little sections from the X-rays in Living Color Series and then paint and draw over them. They are on canvas. They are whimsical and fun and light hearted," adds Goglia.
Goglia is currently creating two new bodies of work. "Identity" is compromised of eight images, each measuring twenty-seven inches by forty-six inches. She is placing MRI scans from different parts of the body and stretching them out so they become vertical. She then adds a DNA sequencing gel across the top and bottom of the image.
"I have broken knees, a brain, and a ultrasound radiograph of twins. I had them mounted on Plexiglas. In the center of each is a photograph. One has a black lady wearing an American flag. There is an Asian woman, siblings, a Mexican man, a bald man, and a Korean boy with a yarmulke on," said Goglia. "I worked hard to get images of people from different ethnic backgrounds. They are lit from the back and hung on the wall in front of the light box."
"Identity" prompts us to think about these questions: How are we alike? How are we different? Are the MRIs about the people in that image or about somebody else? What makes our identity? How does culture implode or impact these things?
Another series Goglia is working on is called "Life Cycle". It encompasses her second love, which is music. Goglia has a trained singing voice and performs all over the world with the New Haven Chorale. She has performed in Prague, Budapest, and Vienna and for the American Ambassador to France on the Fourth of July with over 4000 French citizens present. In honor of her passion for music she photocopied different musical scores she had sung over the years from Leonard Bernstein, Franz Joseph Haydn, Johannes Brahms, and others, and then combined those pages with other musical imagery and laboratory and research xrays to express the similarities between the rhythm of music and the rhythm of life.
"A lot of the research x-rays look like parts of a keyboard or the inside of the keyboard, or musical notes. They jump around on these light rhythms," Goglia said.
Goglia sees her work as restorative rather than something that is dismal, even though the x-rays themselves may have been the bearer of bad news for the person to whom they once belonged.
"I like to think of them as healing," said Goglia."One time a woman was looking at my work and got very upset. She had just had x-rays done because she had a major disease. But I think of them as happy, bright, and fun. Art is a palliative force."