Interview with artist Gina D’Aloisio (GA) by Phil Anderson (PA)
Gina D’Aloisio with mould in her studio
Having seen Gina’s work at the Artist Project 2023 I asked her to exhibit in Gallery 1313’s Window Box Gallery. Her installation “Ignorance is Bliss” captured a lot of attention … sometimes jarring.
Her Artist Statement describes her work: “Toronto-based artist, Gina D’Aloisio (BFA) utilizes interdisciplinary sculpture and installation, her primary material focuses are hyperreal mould making and found objects. The replication of flesh and the body using silicone, in combination with found objects explore the human relationship with the material world. Her work is a reflection of the times, employing satire and irony to both poke fun at, and seriously contemplate our world.”
I did a studio visit to find out more about Gina D’Aloisio. The following is a conversation with her.
PA: You went to OCADU in 2021 in the Sculpture and Installation program. When did you decide that this is what you wanted to do?
GA: Yes, I graduated in 2021. I first started off in the industrial design program, but quickly realized that my “designs” were actually just artworks. So, I made the switch into the Sculpture and Installation program and it was the mould-making class that cemented this decision for me. When I performed my first lifecast on a fellow classmate’s foot, the studio-monitor at the time looked at me and said to the room “look at Gina’s face, she’s going to do this forever”. I don’t know if I had a particular expression of satisfaction or excitement, but she was right, I just fell in love with the process in that moment.
PA: How did you learn all the techniques involved in making these hyper real replications?
GA: Other than the intro to mould making class I had taken during my BFA, I would consider myself completely self taught. I did an independent study, and taught myself the entire process from beginning to end, using the internet, online forums, YouTube and of course my own trial and error.
PA: Can you describe the stages that are needed to construct these works?
GA: Well, it differs greatly from project to project but there is a general formula that I typically follow; life casting, casting, seaming, paint, and then hair punching.
Mould 1 and 2
PA: What would be the biggest challenges in making the finished product?
GA: Hmmm, its tough to say exactly, in terms of the actual process. Perhaps the hair punching for me is the least enjoyable and thus the most difficult and very time consuming. However, if I am really honest the difficulties surrounding my art practice are more around money and time. The entire thing is very labour intensive and the materials I am working with are very costly.
Foot cast (above) and leg cast with hair (below)
PA: You add a little fun to the work with satire. Does this come right from the start of the work?
GA: Yes, definitely. My process is not as intuitive or free flowing as many other artists. I always start with a very clear idea of my finished piece; you have to have it with this type of work. This also fits me well as I am naturally a very analytical thinker, but also see a lot of irony in everyday life.
Gina D’Aloisio, Ignorance is Bliss
PA: Why do you think people are so much attracted to these replicated figures?
GA: I think people are fascinated by the uncanny valley. Anything that refers to our flesh and bodies has a greater sense of abjectness, and creates a physical and maybe even visceral response in people. I think people are fascinated with themselves in a way and are able to see themselves in the replicated figures I create.
Gina D’Aloisio, Deep Breath at the Artist Project, 2023
PA: You must have had a few curious stares transporting these silicone pieces. Can you share any moments?
GA: Oh, yes, definitely. I do make sure to cover the bodies up when transporting them to a gallery for example. Not too long ago I moved apartments and did have to prewarn my movers so that no one was startled.
Ready to ship
PA: What exhibitions do you have lined up?
I will be attending the Re-wilding The Body residency at the Banff Arts Centre, and I will also have a solo show at The Forrest City Gallery, London, Ontario from March 9 – April 20, 2024. I am also having my work featured in the Positive Masculinity show at Maison Depoivre in Prince Edward County.
PA: I understand you will have a collaboration with a metal worker soon. What is your idea about the outcome?
GA: I will be collaborating with my close friend Shay Salehi during the Banff residency to create a piece which incorporates my silicone work and her metal fabrication.
PA: Are there other artists that you feel have influenced your practice?
GA: Certainly, I have been influenced by many artists along the way, to name a few, Evan Penny, Sarah Sitkin, Marie Munk, Josh Klein among others. There are so many amazing artists in this field!
Photo: Phil Anderson