In the exhibition The Odyssey Within, three artists present their explorations of composition and color to make their impression on the art world. Each artist uses a minimum amount of detail in their background, focusing primarily on presenting a compelling subject in visceral foreground. From the highly abstract to the elegantly realist, their styles range as they emphasize their subjects in a way to discover the human experience, femininity, and the natural elements.

The works of Italian artist Paola Rinaldi could best be described as “Informale”. Her works center on the sphere of the female and explore the limits imposed on women by culture, age, and nationality. Rigid squares may contain spheres marked by sharp, straight lines, or curved forms may take shape in recognizable imagery: bones, yarn, and kites. Rinaldi is interested in time’s capability to “modify everything”, and her thoughtful symmetries are simultaneously meditative and teeming with dynamic potential.

Executed in the High Renaissance style, Alfonso Rocchi’s portraits on the surface seem to capture timeless principles of feminine beauty, but beneath it all there is a pointed questioning of the idealization of the female figure that has persisted across centuries. One of the unique aspects of Rocchi’s art lies in the way the artist builds and customizes the frame to complement the work, so that the frames become part of the composition itself. In fact, all of Rocchi’s materials and techniques are patterned after those of Italian painters of the sixteenth century such as Dürer, Van der Goes, and Cranach, using only natural materials, layers of plaster and primer, and thin oil paints that build on one another to compose strikingly rich and multifaceted colors and designs.

Inspired by the childhood landscapes of her native Mediterranean country of Montenegro, painter Gordana Tomic creates images that are at once emotional, spirited, wild, and free. To Tomic, “great artwork threatens time, space, and mind, while retaining the beauty”, and it is this principle that forms the basis for her work. Rich colors and energetic forms fill her large canvases, while the addition of extra elements, like volcanic sand, add depth and texture to the piece. It is in the specificity of these painted moments — where energy, color, contrast, and emotion all converge in unexpected ways — that Tomic finds the true and enduring beauty of life.