Taxonomies

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CAMPS, 2019

A series of graphite drawings based upon Gallo's travels to Holocaust work and death camps. These 8x10 inch drawings are from infamous sites such as Dachau, Birkenau, and Auschwitz. This body of work was heavily influenced by artist Kathe Kollwitz.

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Crypts, 2019

A series of drawings based upon Gallo's exploration of crypts across Eastern Europe. These quiet 8x10 inch drawings were achieved by using white pastel and gel pen on black Arches paper.

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House Fire, 2019

A series of drawings inspired from a house fire in Gallo's childhood home in Illinois. These contemplative 8x10 inch drawings were drafted using Conte on Mylar. This exploration of materials was influenced by artist Sophie Jodoin.

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Plaques, 2019/2020

These sculptures serve as vestige of the prehistoric remains that pass through Gallo's hands during her time at the Penn Museum. These casts were taken from early hominid species that date from hundreds of thousands to millions of years ago. These plaques are more than plaster, they are snapshots of human evolution.
 

    Artist Statement

 

 My body of work aspires to achieve a seemingly impossible goal: bringing life to the dead. Centering around my affinity for examining the human condition, mortality, anthropology and anatomy, my art culminates in the field of forensic art, primarily in the creation of post-mortem facial reconstructions. Using the structure of the skull as directions for applying the clay, I reassemble the idiosyncrasies of the face to construct a recognizable person with distinct features, bringing to life a face forgotten by time.

 

     I have spent countless long days working on my craft at the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology creating facial reconstructions from the skulls in their collection, such as my reconstructions of Morton skull #1097 and Neandertal Shanidar #1. Along with these busts, I cast teeth from their collection of early hominid beings and placed them on wooden plaques to display their beauty. These casts date from hundreds of thousands to millions of years ago and these sculptures serve as vestige of the prehistoric remains that have passed through my hands during my time at the Penn Museum. My plaques are more than plaster, they are snapshots of human evolution and our journey to becoming the people we see today.

 

     Alongside my forensic art practice, I create drawings, sculptures, and paintings that further investigate humanity’s relationship with our finite lives. During my travels in Europe I felt drawn to record the European relationship with religion and death. From drawing the iconography of crypts and cathedrals to attempting to portray the atrocities of the Holocaust from my perspective as a Jewish woman, I have produced a series of drawings based on the photographs and sketches I created while immersed in these dark and somber places. These contemplative drawings serve as documentation of this experience, bringing life to a history of death. My experiences in Europe also had a profound effect on me conceptually, as shown in my body of work. I started my exploration with my use of mark-making; viciously scratching with my pencil, putting my anger into each stroke onto the paper, every mark is a response to the myriad of emotions I felt in each setting. I’ve also been exploring how redactive drawings- drawing with negative space- methodically conveys the feeling of cold isolation that I have been trying to replicate.

 

     The concept of mourning through visual work became a much more personal one to me last year after my childhood home burned down. I transferred my artistic abilities from recording the plight of other people to my own rebirth after the fire took all remnants of my childhood and the house I grew up in. I was compelled to draw the severe damage that was done to the walls that protected my family. Recording my own experience with loss in a meaningful manner, I used the techniques I learned through my time spent drawing the crypts and camps to convey my personal journey with the loss of a home and memories.

Reconstructing the past, historically, in forensic art, and through my own personal journey has forced me to finally acknowledge and accept my own mortality. By confronting death everyday, I have managed to find success in my body of work and exercise my extreme passion for history and justice. In my work I push myself to explore my own emotional capacity, giving myself over to my fascination with things long past and examining humanity’s relationship with mortality over thousands of years to capture its qualities and its gravity. I hope that my artwork may continue to add faces to the individuals who have had their dignity and identities stripped from them, and I hope to lead an expedition into my own mental and emotional capacity around the cyclical nature of destruction and birth, as well as open a dialogue surround the taboo subject matter of human mortality in Western culture.

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Morton Skull#1097
Contact/Inquiries

Or send an email to kathleengalloarts@gmail.com

 

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Identifying Patterns #2