Alumna’s Art Explores the Unseen – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Alumna’s Art Explores the Unseen

Colette Watts Quaglia ’99 on Exhibition at Houghton House Gallery

“…An ongoing investigation in…[understanding] the first stages of development of the human embryo….[focusing] on the first seven days after fertilization, during the time of rapid cell division and generation.”

This is the concept behind Colette Watts Quaglia’s ’99 exhibit, “The Morphology Series.” The exhibit, on display at the Houghton House Gallery, is part of William Smith Centennial Weekend. 

Consisting of painting, drawing and mixed media, “The Morphology Series” will will remain on exhibition until Sunday, Dec. 21. 

“This series is a way for me to experience the unseen, to come to terms not only with the process of growth that has happened within my body, but also with the fact that all humans have begun their lives in this cellular form,” says Quaglia. “During the first seven days after fertilization, the development of the human embryo is incredibly fragile, irregular, kinetic, rapid, forceful and continuous.” 

Quaglia’s work explores those sensations through the use of mixed media: stitching, collage, drawing and painting.  She uses several layers of torn paper and fabric to recreate the surface-eventually a “patchwork of forms”-on which she later draws and paints.  Working with the variety, complexity and irregularity of materials allows for unexpected movement and space to provide “the setting for fragments of cellular forms to exist and pulsate.”

“This scenario allows me to experience the unknown,” Quaglia says. “This act of making reinforces what I cannot see, and the multiple mediums serve as silent forces that morph together to rejuvenate and support one another as I strive to understand the natural and unwavering complexity of the beginnings of life.”

While at HWS, Quaglia graduated cum laude as a studio art major with high honors in studio art.

The opening reception for “The Morphology Series” was held on Friday, Nov. 7.