The transubstantiation of shoepolish | Exhibit Opening

Friday, August 26, 2022
5 - 7 pm | Ruffin Gallery

Opening Reception | Friday, August 26 | 5:00-7:00pm

Ruffin Gallery | 179 Culbreth Road on UVA’s Arts Grounds

The power of this marginalized material of shoe polish does not go unnoticed. It is difficult to find in the grocery store. It is set aside, dusty, almost forlorn, and always on the lower shelf; yet, it possesses the power to marginalize a race, to set aside and further push down with its history in creating the “black face.” This material has the dual nature to transpose into the ability to mock and suppress entire communities. The shoe polish by itself is innocent but once applied, becomes guilty. The idea to transform the material - give it another meaning and push it away from the suppressive and subversive undertones - ends ultimately with a transubstantiation of the material and a cleanse of its emotional volatile discourse. A change and shift in the view of the substance is the efficacious result.

Born in upstate New York, Michelle Gagliano currently practices from her studio in central Virginia. She has a MFA from American University and has completed residencies at the Chautauqua School of Art and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and a fellowship with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She has held solo exhibitions and curated group shows throughout the US, Europe, and Asia.

The Transubstantiation of Shoe Polish is on view through September 23, 2022.