To Be in Solo Villanova Exhibit
The exhibit of some 50 to 60 mixed media works, including more than 20 large-scale oils, continues to Tuesday, February 19. A free public reception to meet the artist will take place Friday, January 18, from 5 7 p.m., in the gallery on the Villanova campus. Refreshments will be served. Many of the paintings will be for sale. All proceeds go to the artist. The gallery charges no fee or commission for art sold during exhibitions.
Many of the large-scale oils have been done specifically for the exhibit. Several are portraits of women, children and men Brancato has taught and come to know during her 10 years as director of the Art Center of the Southwest Community Enrichment Center in Philadelphias predominantly African American Kingsessing section. Under her guidance, many residents have become selling artists in their own right.
Legends tell us, says Brancato, that to find the meaning of life, one should go to the mountaintop. Thats not where I have found it to be. For me, the meaning of life is found in the village at the base of the mountain.
For Brancato, the streets of Kingsessing serve as metaphor for the mountain-base villages in Haiti she visited 11 years ago while serving as an artist/journalist for Pax Christi, U.S.A., of Erie, PA. Her visit to that impoverished Caribbean island nation changed Brancatos life and her perspective as an artist.
To tell the story of my creative journey as woman and artist, I have chosen paintings which reveal my passion for the human condition, for women in particular. A key painting in this creative journey is entitled In the 43rd Year of My Life. Thats when my search for people began. That search isnt always upbeat, but it has brought a passion to my work, and to me. Life where these people live it is hard, incredibly hard. There is suffering. But there is dignity, too, and creativity, much creativity. They make the most of the very little they have.
Her painting Haitian Last Supper shows people sitting around a barren table. Brancato notes, There is no food on the table, just people sitting around it nourishing one another,
My work, I hope, reveals my compassion for people, their strength and dignity, for women in particular. I hope it portrays the pain, strength, and wisdom of the elderly. I am inspired by the people of Haiti, the people I met at Maryknoll, the people at the Art Center.
Many of the new works in the Villanova exhibit were made possible by a fellowship from the Independence Foundation, which enabled Brancato to take time off from her job as director of the Art Center on South 46th.
The exhibit is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Prior to becoming director of the Southwest Community Art Center, Brancato taught
art in high schools in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Brancato has had numerous one-person exhibits throughout the area and elsewhere. Her works have also been sought out for many group exhibits. She is represented in the permanent collections of the Independence Foundation, Villanova and LaSalle Universities, a number of area churches, and the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art at St. Louis University.
She received her Masters in Art Education at Kutztown (PA) State University, and studied painting and printmaking at the Tyler School of Art, and portrait painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.