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June 20, 2012 - 1:09pm

GCC exhibit will transform art gallery into Italian American household circa 1940-60

posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Roz Steiner Gallery.

Press release:

There will be something familiar to everyone in the new full-gallery art installation coming to the Roz Steiner Art Gallery at Genesee Community College. "Documente: The Italian American Family Album" by SUNY Geneseo art professor Thomas MacPherson is a recreation of the interior home of an American immigrant family that includes original portrait paintings, as well as furniture, artwork and domestic artifacts authentic to the period and modified by personal experience.

"Documente: The Italian American Family Album" opens with an artist's reception at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 14 and will remain in the gallery until Aug. 27.

"This exhibition is really a destination event," Gallery Director Shirley Verrico said. "MacPherson presents outstanding artwork to view, as well as multiple rooms to explore. Everyone will find something familiar within the installation, allowing them to connect with their own past, as well as with the experience of the artist."

The exhibit looks at life in an immigrant household during the 1940s, '50s and '60s through a series of rooms that capture the look and feel of "grandma's house," including:

  • the kitchen with metal table and utensils;
  • the dining room with table and antique china;
  • a War Hero display off the dining room that has photos of the war experiences of two male relatives;
  • the living room where visitors can contribute to the exhibit via a bulletin board;
  • and grandma's bedroom with period furniture and a computer where visitors can see grandma talk about her life.

Visitors are also encouraged to explore drawers and photo albums to absorb the experience and make it feel like a peek into their own heritage.

MacPherson says each installation is unique "because of the manner in which it conforms to the physical space in which it is presented, and the continued addition of new paintings and furnishings."

The exhibit includes original portrait paintings arranged like artwork on the wall of a house. It also features a variety of interactive components including music, a video telling the story about immigrant assimilation, Italian foods and favorite family recipes viewers can take home.

During the summer, the gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. For more information about hours, visit the gallery Web site: http://www.genesee.edu/gallery/.

MacPherson holds an MFA in printmaking and drawing from the University of South Carolina, and a bachelor's degree in studio art from SUNY Oswego. He has earned numerous awards for both his artwork and his teaching, including the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1999.

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