Paintings of Joshua trees and imaginative collages by artists Kris Holladay-Fregoso and Rose Gonella are currently on display at the Palmdale Playhouse.
After receiving her Master’s in Art for Assemblage at California State University Northridge, Kris Holladay-Fregoso decided it was time to start working on a series of Joshua trees that had been on her mind for quite some time and which make up much of her exhibit.
“Well, I brought in my favorites tonight,” said Holladay-Fregoso of her artwork. “The Palmdale Playhouse is near and dear to me because I got to be their art director for three years… so I just went through my collection and brought my favorites.
Holladay-Fregoso has been creating art since she was a child. As she got older it began to develop into a passion and a concern to her parent but she assured them art would work as both a hobby and a job and now works at R. Rex Parris High School as a teacher.
She also does 3-D assemblages where she collects jewelry and vintage items and then pieces them together. A past exhibit featured broken pieces of mirror and mosaics. She has ventured into the community with her artistic skills, most recently helping her students to highlight the memorial footprints on Lancaster Boulevard with spray chalk and building a mosaic pizza oven at the community garden.
“The kids love that,” said Holladay-Fregoso who still finds inspiration in the Joshua trees. “Working with color is key for me because when you go out in nature and work plein air you’re learning about the anatomy and you’re dealing with the natural colors but when you’re working in the studio you can get kind of wild with the colors and it gets more expressionistic and that’s kind of how my Joshua trees lean to that expressionism with color.”
For Gonella opportunity was as easy as asking a question. Gonella’s artwork is currently on display because she became intrigued about the artwork when she brought her son to classes at the theatre.
“So she brought it in and I thought, ‘that’s different, I like it, and it’s really cool.’ So I ran it by Annie (Pagliaro, Recreation Supervisor for the city of Palmdale) and Annie goes, ‘yeah this is cool, let’s do it.’ Because we’re always looking for something different,” said Debbie Barrientes, Theatre Operations Coordinator for the Playhouse.
Gonella is a stay at home mom who sells crocheted items on Etsy. She has also been creating collages in her spare time for the past dozen years ever since she saw her aunt doing them while Gonella was attending college.
Her collages are different from traditional paintings because they are created from images cut out with an exacto knife and then layered and pasted into place.
“Usually I will find an image that I really like and just try to build around that central idea or else I’ll have an idea in my head and I’ll actually have to go hunting for images for it,” said Gonella of her inspiration.
Pricing is one of those things that is pretty ambiguous to non-artists. “I try to kind of take into account the amount of time spent on it, plus how big it is, how much the frame cost,” explained Gonella on her pricing techniques.
Her husband is equally excited about her first exhibit.
“It’s about time she exhibited, got out of the house with her artwork,” said Jason Gonella. “My own particular artistic endeavors are more theatrical and it winds up leaving her at home because you don’t need an audience to do this but she needs to get out and show them.”
The artwork will be on display through Sunday, April 17, 2016. Admission is free. For more information or exhibit hours, call the Playhouse at (661) 267-5684.