ST. JOHNSBURY – The whole month of June celebrates the mosaic art of Mary Tapogna, in “Hail Mary, Full of Glass.” The Back Room Gallery is aglitter with her crafted art, with many portraits, some unique materials including pots and pans, and many works using iconic religious motifs.
Born and raised in Springfield, Ohio, Tapogna is the eighth of nine siblings. She attended the University of Cincinnati, studying graphic design and graduated with a BFA in Photography from the Art Academy of Cincinnati. After graduation in 1990 she moved to Portland, Oregon, where she worked as a freelance photographer, mainly for The Oregonian Newspaper. She gradually began to dabble with the mosaic art medium, soon having exhibits, and undertaking large and small scale commission projects.
This led to the opening of the brick and mortar, Hail Mary. A storefront-gallery-studio, Hail Mary was an arts and community fixture in Portland for 12 years. Community and personal projects were born and executed there. Locals and travelers, from far and wide, deemed it a very special destination. And now, as the title of the show proclaims Hail Mary is part of the art community in the Kingdom.
Tapogna writes “My mosaic work covers a range of sometimes religious and secular portraits, crosses, rosaries, tables, lamps, etc. The portraits are fabricated using various accumulated materials, images, and layering. Working mostly from my photographic images and drawings, the portraits are made from found and recycled materials gathered from my everyday surroundings.
The work can take weeks to months to complete, depending upon size and challenge of the project. Traditional mosaics that utilize many tiny pieces of glass and tile are inspirational to me. I honor the traditional art form by striving for the same tedious intricacy, while incorporating contemporary unorthodox materials, and subject matter.”
In 2014, Tapogna did a month-long artist residency at Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury. This included teaching her art form, and creating public art that resides on the front grounds of the Art Center. This residency began her intrigue and love for Vermont, so much so, that she moved here in 2022.
Tapogna also have a special workshop on Friday, June 30, as part of St. Johnsbury’s “Final Friday Celebrations.
Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild, is an artist’s cooperative, with over 100 Vermont Artists. The Guild is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and located at 430 Railroad Avenue. Call us at (802) 748-0158 during store hours or see nekartisansguild.com