JoAnn Ugolini is best known for her collages constructed from fragments of Roman posters pulled from contemporary Roman walls. A graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, she lives and works in Berkeley, California, and Rome, Italy. She has exhibited in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Rome and is currently represented by Barbara Anderson Gallery in Berkeley. Her work has been influenced by her life in Rome and the visual expression of its dynamic streets.
Posters are pasted one over another, becoming strata of time present and past. Ugolini works with these layers, taking them apart and recombining them. As collages, they become fragments of language, interrupted messages, suggestions of images, and spontaneous fields of color.
As part of a collaborative Artist’s Book, S E C O N D Language, with poet, Kathleen Fraser, Ugolini produced a series of collages while working as a visiting artist in a shared studio at the American Academy in Rome. The original book is in the Special Collections at the Bienecke Library (Yale University).
In recent collages, forms are not assembled as in classic collage, but built, as a painting is built. These collages do not celebrate the fragmentary but become wholly integrated works both vibrant and colorful with a richness of layered texture that incorporates the weathered beauty of the Roman walls. Meaning is achieved by the force of composition in the juxta-positioned layers.
Ugolini’s work is a lifelong meditation on how form, color, and gesture relate; focus is on both the breakup and building of shapes and gestures, which are layered, interrupted, and interspersed, reflecting the color and quality of everyday light.