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Artist's work reflects world travels

Amelia Netto uses mixed media to capture universal feelings

Amelia Netto’s art celebrates life. The joy of dancing a tango, tender feelings of friendship, the grace of birds in flight, night life on a plaza in Mexico, the sadness of separation from family, the pleasure of a journey on a bus -- her work captures moments like these. 

Her mixed media textile pieces reflects the complexity of those feelings through the materials she uses. Embroidery thread, appliqués, sticks, gold leaf, resin, magazine clippings, nails, even Plexiglas are applied on top of color-saturated linen and cotton.

“I’ve always been drawn to textile art and the flexibility in the medium,” Netto said. “My work is process oriented. I don’t begin with a particular idea, just a feeling. From there I work until the concept reveals itself to me.  When I finish a piece it expresses something internal that I couldn’t represent in a verbal way.”

The influence of her travels and the relationships she formed while visiting Mexico, Argentina and Eastern Europe are evident throughout much of her work.  One piece, “Homes Are What You Make Them,” came after volunteering to work with a group of girls in Mexico. The girls stayed at a shelter Monday through Friday while attending school and went home to their families on the weekends.

The piece reflects the mixed feelings one of the girls had about bouncing back and forth between places. “When I’m at the shelter I want to be home and when I’m home I want to be here,” she told Netto.   

“Los Colectivos” came after spending time in Argentina and taking the bus daily to art classes in Argentina. Embroidery became a part of her work when her summer classes were cancelled and a friend arranged for her to take classes while visiting.

“There is so much more to explore — different materials, places of inspiration,” Netto said. “When I stretch fabric over a frame, the possibilities are endless.”

How a piece begins

Fabric is stretched over a frame and saturated with layers of colors until she is satisfied with the combination. Next, a photograph is printed onto a transparency sheet and coated with emulsion and exposed on a machine with an intense light.

Once it’s exposed, it works like a stencil allowing the ink to pass through some areas on the screen.  The last step is the embroidery, by hand or machine.  “I like going back in with thread to add detail or make certain areas pop.”

Netto’s work, along with artists Chris May and Rose. M. Baron, is showing through April at  in “Transitions." Each artist uses multidisciplinary techniques resulting in a combination of figural and abstract imagery. May creates encaustic paintings incorporating his photography. Rose's urbanscapes incorporate traditional photography with slide film, cross processing and archival digital printing.

Art Shots

3rd Annual Atlanta STEAMFest, Academy Theatre, 119 Center St. April 9 and 10. Event is built around around a genre of literature and speculation called "Steampunk" which sees the world through a Victorian aesthetic and has a deep appreciation of the evolution of technology imagined by such authors as H.G. Wells. Artist market, live music, themed costume contest and fashion show. $20 per day ($10 for children and students) or $35 for a two-day pass. www.atlsteamfest.com

Art in the Afternoon, April 16. Spend an afternoon strolling through shops and businesses meeting artists and talking about what inspires them. Four different locations: Roost, the Little Wine Shop, Metro Dance and Paste. Refreshments and music. Attendance is free. Sponsored by the Avondale Arts Alliance.  11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For map visit www.avondalearts.org.

West Side Story, DeKalb School of the Arts, 1192 Clarendon Ave. April 14-17. Students present their spring musical. Tickets $12 adults, $6 students.

 Field Studies, , 175 Laredo Drive. Through April 16. Megan Daloz’s clay work is painstakingly decorated with images of bees, weeds, mopeds, Minotaurs and other creature encountered in an urban setting.

“Kiss of the Vampire,” Process Theatre Co. at Onstage Atlanta, 2597 N. Decatur Road, through April 16. Arthur and Vince are the perfect gay couple. There’s just one tiny little problem: Vince has been bitten by a Vampire bat, and Arthur only has days to save him from transforming into one of the undead.

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