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Lisa Occhipinti: A Clearing in the Distance

Winter Garden Gallery

View a new exhibit in the Winter Garden Gallery featuring work by Lisa Occhipinti.

A Clearing in the Distance* brings nature into an urban, built environment. This work prompts us to lift our gaze from our immediate lives (and screens) and reflect on our connection to the natural world. Most notably that we are not apart from it, but of it, made from the same building blocks, attuned to its forces and beholden to its benevolence.

Each tapestry focuses on one of three common, easily conjured vistas: the sea, flora, and twilight. These exist within our psyches as preconceived ideas. A Clearing in the Distance is a way to broaden or deepen those mental and emotional notions.

Through silent details and familiar reference points these vistas are portrayed through alternating macro- and wide angle lenses. A slosh of wet, sunlit wave is just the glittering surface above an intricate universe beneath. The fading coral of sunset that rolls overnight into the fresh pink of a new day is testament to the natural cycles we are part of. The tender texture of a leaf’s underside is in fact a striking graphic pattern.

This is part of a series of work titled, Momenti, where each folded element represents a moment, point in time or juncture of significance. It is a labor-intensive process in which I drop into a grotto of private logic and unfettered intuition to find my way through a sea of decision making as I fold, cut, and place each piece to create a paper tapestry.

Each tapestry contains over 1,000 individual pieces of hand-cut, hand-folded papers, photographs and found images that are assembled into compositions and, at a distance, read as pattern, color, and texture. Upon closer inspection, the work reveals details and singular moments that offer a portal inward to a universal yet personal narrative. My own photographs are in the open areas—the clearings—for a place of entry or rest for the eye as it moves and meanders across the honeycombed surface.

The work is cellular in nature and mirrors that nature is cellular. Everything consists of smaller parts, whether visible or not, that combine to make bodies, entities, and structures. Each folded paper is a cell, encoded and individual. When en masse and organized, the work forms a greater whole, a wider body, and a broader story. Within it, the diverse is mysteriously interwoven and the contrastive is beautifully interrelated.

* A Clearing in the Distance is also the title of a biography on Frederick Law Olmsted, who among his many and diverse achievements, was the landscape architect of New York’s Central Park.

Curated by Common Ground Arts and presented by Brookfield Properties Arts & Culture for Brookfield Place New York.


Lisa Occhipinti is a visual artist and published author. Transforming things rather than always creating anew, Lisa constructs her works so that they lend their own histories. She creates bespoke sculptural assemblages from natural and found materials. Whether books, branches, clothing, or textiles the physicality of the material is embraced and through labor-intensive practices imbued with metaphor and meaning.


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