Subcutaneous: Monica Chulewicz and Gianna Paniagua

The Dorris Stern Gallery at Arts Unbound

Jan. 18, 2024 - Feb. 24, 2018

544 Freeman Street
Orange, 07050
PHONE 973-675-2787

Arts Unbound is proud to present the exhibition Subcutaneous featuring the work of Monica Chulewicz and Gianna Paniagua; two emerging artists making work directly related to their physical disabilities that are, on the surface, invisible.

Monica Chulewicz uses her work in fabric and paper to express the frustration and discrimination she experiences navigating the medical world searching for treatment for Mitochondrial disease, an undiagnosed sleep disorder, and various other chronic illnesses. Her cyanotype prints on fabric, often quilted together and embroidered with thread, and embellished with gold leaf, speak to recurring themes of memory loss, grief and pain. Text plays a large role in her work. Her wall hangings have exacting titles like “Medical Limbo” and “Wake Up Earlier, You’re Just Lazy.” While her ethereal cut-paper portraits of women incorporate text like “Please Remember More Than I Am Currently Doing” within the composition.

Gianna Paniagua is a painter, multi-media sculptor, performance artist, and is best known for her meticulously crafted paperworks that reflect patterns and concepts related to human anatomy. In 1992, at the age of 14 months, she became a heart transplant recipient from Columbia Presbyterian Babies Hospital. The nature of her complicated health condition has shaped her life and, in turn, her work, in both content and practice. As part of the exhibition, Gianna will be doing a performance piece during the opening reception of her meditative papercutting practice that she developed for pain management. In her MFA thesis she writes, “Accepting the limitations my body had due to chronic pain, I turned to a practice that challenged my craftsmanship instead of my fragile legs. Papercutting, non-toxic and mobile, was at the core of my practice…Unable to relate to myself because the pain disoriented me, I could only work in white. Any other way felt wrong, almost disingenuous. The paper was skin and its alterations would be like textured scars, but not vibrant tattoos.”

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