Alexandra Cicorschi was recently invited for a micro-residency at Villa San Francisco (VillaSF) to support the local art scene during the pandemic... While asked how she would describe herself she declared “I would say I fall more into the visual artist description. Although my work does have a sculptural element to it, I consider myself a painter – I paint with wood. The process I go through when selecting each strip of wood is the same process of selecting an oil color and mixing it before applying it to the canvas.”
And to be honest, while entering VillaSF and its colorful decor like no other, the art of Cicorschi blends into the environment. The assemblage of finely sanded pieces of wood, the tangy colors of the backgrounds are perfectly merging with the walls of the Villa San Francisco while giving them a very pleasant twist.
So when we dove into more detail about what drove her to use wood as her main material, this young, almost frail woman gave us an unexpected answer. She was already exploring different forms of art before working with wood “but the satisfaction of the table saw, the feeling, the smell of the cut material gave me a level of satisfaction that I really enjoyed to the point that cutting, sanding, and assembling wood relaxed me after my day job“. A table saw substituting to a color palette…
When challenged about the relationship between her art and Villa San Francisco where the artists in residence are asked to reflect on “The most pressing challenges of our times”, Alexandra Cicorschi answered “My work is centered around the use of repurposed wood materials. I think that our consumerist tendencies have disconnected us from the value and meaning which the material world holds. I hope I can draw attention to the origins of our urban surroundings and honor what nature is giving us and we so often take for granted.
Living in California has been an eye-opening experience for me because many of the construction materials that are being discarded here date back many hundreds of years. There is so much we can reuse instead of encouraging more deforestation. There are also so many practices we have lost, particularly of fixing what is broken in favor of replacing it with brand-new items. When we care for the objects which accompany us in our daily lives, we care for the place they come from, and this can lead to sustainability and also a more enriched, meaningful life“.
It has to be mentioned that Cicorschi doesn’t tint the piece of wood she uses, it’s only the sanding of different used wood essences that gives the different colors to her final piece of art. To facilitate her task, she draws the layout of the assemblage up front as shown in her sketchbooks.
A few snapshots about Alexandra Circoschi
How do you envision your art post Covid?
“I have done my best to continue working as before throughout the Covid times, although I had to undergo many difficult changes in my schedule and working space. I will be starting work on a new body of work after my Villa San Francisco residency, whether our reality returns to “normal” or not. This past year has reinforced the importance of community for me, and I think this is something that will find echoes in how I approach working as an artist as well as life in general”.
What is special about the residency physical space?
“Being at Villa SF is like inhabiting a work of art. It’s inspiring to live and work in a space created by other artists. It’s also a place that gives me perspective as I reflect on the work I’m making here – having the expansive view of San Francisco helps me see a bigger picture of the world I’m trying to address. I love the feeling of living inside a treehouse while also hearing the city sounds below me”.
How are you connected to France?
“French was the first foreign language I learned in school, in 2nd grade. My father lived in Paris for one year and I think he was hoping to move us all there at some point. I had a great-uncle who fled to France during the 2nd World War, so as a result, I have some 12 cousins in Paris. Somehow, knowing you have relatives in a certain country makes you feel connected to it in a special way”.
Can you give me the name of one artist that you currently like in the bay area?
“It’s too hard to choose but I love the paintings of Heather Day and Nicole Mueller, as well as Naz Khorram and Sean Newport’s sculptural pieces”.
Where can we follow your work?
My website: http://alexandracicorschi.com/
My IG: https://www.instagram.com/alexandra_cicorschi/
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/alexandra.cicorschi
The movie I am working on during my residency will be on my website soon!
Villa San Francisco was made possible by the collaboration of the Cultural Services of the Embassy of France in the United States, the Institut de France, the Consulate General of France in San Francisco, and the French American Cultural Society (FACS) but also supported by local partners such as UC Berkeley, and generous donors.