Humans exist on a spectrum—we oscillate within the vagaries of gender, time, reality and imagination. Lania D’Agostino’s work displays such complex humanity—we are always moving, shifting, progressing, while remaining closely linked to our original selves.
D’Agostino relies on discipline as well as whim to carry out her work. “The paintings happen daily,” she explains, “and evolve as a type of stream of consciousness, whereas the sculptures are designed with an intention.”
She must plan, raise money and develop a team of assistants for her life-size nude models before she can begin. But her watercolors, such as her “Jack Rabbit” self-portraits, allow her to process and discover as she goes. “Sometimes,” she says, “it takes me a while to realize exactly what the paintings are revealing or saying, and then that idea changes as my perspective changes.”
Consistent images appear throughout D’Agostino’s oeuvre—animal heads that blur standard ideas of gender, birds that encourage “letting go and learning to trust,” and the scattering of crosses, which “show a correlation to a cosmic universal energy.”
D’Agostino uses the crosses to mark where her work needs adjustment during the drafting process. She considers the crosses as links between her past—as a child attending Catholic school surrounded by Christian iconography—and her present. But these details, D’Agostino muses, might evolve from somewhere even deeper, more hidden.
Currently a finalist for the Janet and Walter Sondheim Prize, D’Agostino’s work is on display at Howard Community College through May 8. Learn more at dagostinostudios.com.
This appears in the May/June 2016 issue of STYLE.