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Posts Tagged ‘Valentina Mazzei’

Mona Zimen, an artist in Bavaria, Germany, recently notified the VWoolf Listserve that she has created an outdoor bronze sculpture of Virginia Woolf. Along with her notice, she sent photos of the bust that she had taken in her garden.

Here is her message:

Because of my research in the Internet over Virginia Woolf I suspect that there is a sculptural monument only of one artist so far and also for me as a sculptress. I had the big personal wish to portray her. During the last months I created a sculpture for outside in the size for a big garden, park or a public place.

Woolf bust 2

copyright by Mona Zimen

Woolf bust

copyright by Mona Zimen

This is not the first bust of Woolf to be sculpted in recent years. Valentina Mazzei created a bronze bust of Woolf in 2010 that was displayed at the 20th Annual International Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf: Woolf and the Natural World that year.

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Valentina Mazzei and her Woolf bust

Today is the last day to vote for Valentina Mazzei, in the Art Takes London competition.

Her Virginia Woolf bust charmed conferencegoers at the 20th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf in Georgetown, Kentucky, last June. Vote here by clicking on the stars in the upper right hand corner of the page.

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Does the bronze statue of the new Indian Dalit Goddess of English resemble Virginia Woolf? That question was posed to the VWoolf Listserv and linked readers to the BBC photo and story.

Maybe it does. Or maybe it is the medium — combined with the hairdo — that provides the resemblance.

As soon as I saw the photo, I thought of Italian sculptor Valentina Mazzei‘s lovely bronze bust of Virginia Woolf. It was on display at the art exhibition that was part of the 2010 Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf: Woolf and the Natural World at Georgetown University.

Mary Ellen Foley posted the link to the Goddess of English story, and several list readers responded to her suggestion that it bore a resemblance to Woolf.

Harish Trivedi thought the statue “had too round and even plump a face.” Self-identified common reader Mark Scott thought the statue did look like Woolf.

But Trivedi also spoke to the irony of the goddess’s name. “And as for Indians knowing English, there are not really that many of us around, even after a couple of centuries of British rule. 5% of the population?  10% ? Even 20%? Estimates vary, depending on what is meant by ‘knowing’ English,” he wrote.

You can see more photos of Valentina and her Woolf bust here.

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Diana Swanson of Northern Illinois University presents the closing keynote, “The Real World: Virginia Woolf and Ecofeminism.”

Going to a Virginia Woolf conference is like long-distance swimming in deep water. It is both exhilarating and exhausting.

That’s how I felt after this year’s 20th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, held at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky., and organized by Kristin Czarnecki, a member of the English faculty there.

The sensation of swimming in deep water also goes along with the theme for the conference, which was “Virginia Woolf and the Natural World.” That means we heard much about Woolf and flowers, Woolf and fauna, Woolf and birds, Woolf and water and even Woolf and weather, one of my favorite topics. In fact, Gill Lowe, of University Campus Suffolk presented a paper on “Wild Swimming” as part of the first panel of the conference.

Woolf’s depth and stamina were illustrated by the variety of papers, panels, presentations and keynote speeches given at the conference. Here are some sparse notes on just a few.

Elisa Kay Sparks actually counted Woolf’s references to individual varieties of flowers for her presentation, “Virginia Woolf’s Literary and Quotidian Flowers: A Bar-Graphical Approach,” which included a spectacular slide show.

Ecofeminism — and Woolf’s connection to it — were the topics of Bonnie Kime Scott, whose keynote opened the conference, and Diana Swanson, who closed it. Scott made the point that Woolf fuses her natural images with the manmade world, and Swanson said Woolf inspires us to protect our fragile environment, an especially poignant message as oil from BP’s exploded well continues to pollute the Gulf of Mexico.

Valentina Mazzei and her Woolf bust

An opening night reception at the Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery on campus featured glorious artwork from numerous artists around the world. Valentina Mazzei of Rome exhibited her delicately beautiful bronze bust of Woolf, which attracted much attention.

A fantastic panel on nature in both urban and rural environments — and the conflict between the two — featured papers by Teresa Boyer, Tonya Krouse and Mark Hussey. Discussion ranged from the street singer in Mrs. Dalloway to the way weather interrupts the narrative in The Years to the reflection of the public discussion of concerns surrounding the demise of the countryside in the 1920s and 1930s in Between the Acts.

War as the ultimate anti-pastoral was Kimberly Coates‘ theme, while Austin Riede discussed the debilitating effect of shell shock on its victims.

Beth Rigel Daugherty’s rapid-fire delivery of Woolf quotes about horses and “taking her fences” energized and entertained the audience, while Emily Bingham‘s surprising talk about Henrietta Bingham’s connection to the Bloomsbury Group set everyone buzzing.

Patrizia Muscogiuri, who presented a paper about Woolf’s thalassic aesthetics, and Cecil Woolf, publisher

Keiko Okaya Tanaka, Vanessa Underwood and Drew Patrick Shannon were part of an illuminating panel about St. Ives, the Isle of Skye and To the Lighthouse. And after Shannon explained the obvious but heretofore unrecognized connections between Woolf’s novel and Jill Paton Walsh’s children’s books, Goldengrove and Unleaving, many listeners probably added them to their Woolf-related reading lists.

During a panel that included Diane Gillespie and Jane Goldman, Leslie Kathleen Hankins shared slides of two drawings she discovered while leafing through Woolf’s original reading notebooks.

Verita Sriratana, Ph.D. candidate at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland

And I was thrilled to discover another Woolf reader and scholar who is exploring Woolf’s use of weather in her novels. Verita Sriratana presented a well-researched paper on weather in The Years, and she plans to include her work as a chapter in her Ph.D. thesis, “`Making Room’: Virginia Woolf and Technology of Place.” As part of our “Weather and Woolf” panel, I discussed Woolf’s use of weather in Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse and Orlando.

These are just a few highlights of a wonderful conference that left me refreshed, exhilarated, exhausted, and dizzy with ideas. For more, read Vara Neverow’s post-conference blog post and listen to Kristen Czarnecki’s pre-conference interview with NPR affiliate WUKY-FM.

Special thanks to Valentina Mazzei; Patrizia Muscogiuri; Verita Sriratana; and Catherine Hollis,  author of Leslie Stephen as Mountaineer: ‘Where does Mont Blanc end, and where do I begin?’, for the photos that appear on Blogging Woolf and Flickr.

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Virginia Woolf & the Natural World: An Exhibition in Conjunction with the 20th Annual International Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf: Woolf and the Natural World is scheduled for May 13 -June 9 at the Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky.

The hours and schedule

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Hours are Monday through Friday, noon-4:30 p.m. and by appointment. Special hours during the conference weekend are  June 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; June 4 and 5, noon-5 p.m.; and June 6, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. For an appointment, contact the gallery via e-mail at galleries@georgetowncollege.edu or by phone at 502-863-8173.

The exhibition of fine art, rare books and other printed material has been curated by Dr. Juilee Decker, chair of the art department at Georgetown College. The juried show features 32 pieces, many for sale, by regional, national and international artists.

Free exhibition events include:

  • Opening reception on June 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Closing reception and keynote address by Diana Swanson of Northern Illinois University on June 6, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

The art on exhibit

Virginia Woolf bust by Valentina Mazzei

A range of works include representations of Woolf in the following media:

  • a bronze bust
  • a drawing of the author created in one sitting and using more than 20 pencils
  • a digital print from several perspectives
  • an oil on panel.

Artwork responding to Woolf’s writing and the conference theme include:

  • a visual tribute to The Waves
  • abstract and representational mixed media on panel
  • acrylic and graphite on paper
  • watercolor landscapes
  • digital prints that blend word and image
  • several finely woven works that incorporate white oak, reed, maple, macaw and copper
  • a six-foot wide installation of carved wooden leaf-like forms arranged in a circle on the floor with a 12-inch opening in the center that subtly suggests the void from where a tree trunk might emerge.

The artists

Artists whose work was selected for the exhibition are: Bill Andrus (Lexington, Ky.), Jennifer Barnett Hensel (Altadena, Calif.), Ashley Bell (Baton Rouge, La.), Diana S. Brennan (Greenville, R.I.), Herb Goodman (Richmond, Ky.), Mille Guldbeck (Bowling Green, Ohio), John Higdon (Pensacola, Fla.), Cynthia Kukla (Bloomington, Ill.), Lauren Garber Lake (Gainsville, Fla.), Liz Lee (Fredonia, N.Y.), George Lorio (Brownsville, Texas), Valentina Mazzei (Rome, Italy), Linda Stein (New York, N.Y.), and Kim Rae Taylor (Cincinnati, Ohio).

In addition, two works by Isota Tucker Epes (1918-2009) have been lent from the collection of J. J. Wilson.

The printed work on display

The Hogarth Press housed at Sissinghurst

Printed material will be on view from private and public collections, including the Special Collections Library at the University of Kentucky, the Ekstrom Library at the University of Louisville and the Cincinnati Public Library.

First editions published in London and New York will be displayed, including a number of works printed by the Woolfs and at the Hogarth Press:

  • Woolf’s Common Reader (Hogarth Press, 1925)
  • Monday or Tuesday with woodcuts by Vanessa Bell (Hogarth Press, 1921)
  • the sketch of Kew Gardens, number 12 in an edition of 500 copies decorated by Vanessa Bell.

The publications disclose, further, the range of activity printed by the Woolfs on behalf of the Bloomsbury Group, including Roger Fry (The Artist and Psycho-Analysis, 1924). Works by a larger circle of intellectuals will be included in this exhibition. Included are the work of John Carl Flugel, whose The Psychology of Clothes was published by the Institute of Psycho-Analysis in 1930.

Of special mention is the collection of Victorian photographs taken by Julia Margaret Cameron and printed by Leonard and Virginia Woolf at their press in 1926.

The conference

Cecil Woolf

While the exhibition and closing keynote are free and open to the public, a full slate of speakers and presentations is available to conference attendees.

Noted scholars Bonnie Kime Scott  of San Diego State University, Carrie Rohman of Lafayette College and Christina Alt of the University of Ottawa will offer keynote addresses.

In addition, Cecil Woolf, publisher of the Bloomsbury Heritage Series and a nephew of Leonard and Virginia Woolf, will give a talk.

Registration and more information

The deadline for advance registration is April 25. After that date, the registration fee will increase $30. Individuals interested in hearing conference talks may take advantage of daily, on-site registration at $55 per day.

Fuller conference details are available from the conference organizer, Dr. Kristin Czarnecki at Kristin_Czarnecki@georgetowncollege.edu.

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If it weren’t for blogging, I would never have seen the beautiful bust of Virginia Woolf created by Italian sculptor Valentina Mazzei.

Valentina posted a comment and link on Blogging Woolf that clued me in to the fact that she is a Woolf afficianado whose most recent project is a lost wax hot cast bronze sculpture of Woolf.

The sculpture is available in four different finishes in a limited edition of eight pieces. It measures nearly 8 inches by 5 1/2 inches and is priced at $1,200.

You can see more views of Mazzei’s sculpture here and here.

I plan to be in Rome in mid-May, and I hope I have the opportunity to meet Valentina and the bust in person. If so, I will write more about it.

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