Leah Tomaino, a well-respected artist who typically uses old brown shopping bags to create collages and an adjunct professor at County College of Morris (CCM), recently was presented with a national environmental art award for one of her artworks.
Tomaino, a resident of Randolph, received the Bobbi Mastrangelo Environmental Art Award at the National Association of Women Artists 131st Annual Exhibition for her collage “Oh Morning Glories.” The exhibition is being held online this year through December 30 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and can be viewed at www.thenawa.org/.
Tomaino, who teaches two- and three-dimensional design at CCM, works primarily in the medium of collage on canvas. Her interest in working with collaging brown bags began in 1999 when recycling became popular. For her, working with brown bags serves as a metaphor for the cycle of life: the bags start as a tree, are turned into a brown bags and used for a short period of time, and then are recycled by Tomaino, who tears them and turns them into works of art. Tomaino says that in her artwork she seeks to convey the beauty and serenity of nature that still exist in today’s largely urban society.
At first glance, one appreciates the vibrant colors and delicate depiction of Tomaino’s nature scenes, but a closer inspection reveals months of hard, tedious work. Tomaino applies each vibrantly painted ripped strip of paper to her canvas, building upon the pieces until she finally completes her vision. This attention to detail gives each of her pieces a unique flare.
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