The Delaware Division of the Arts’ Mezzanine Gallery presents 2022 DDOA Individual Artist Fellow Joseph Barbaccia’s exhibition, Polymer Paintings, running October 7-28, 2022. Guests are invited to attend a Meet-the-Artist Reception on Friday, October 7, from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
All his life, Joseph Barbaccia has been inspired by color and form. He was drawn to their motivating force even before his artistic inclinations and aspirations were clear to him. There were no artists among his extended family or their friends, but “at church on Sundays, I remember always wanting to sit in a pew the had a stained-glass window at the end in order to enjoy the colors close up,” as he studied the statues and the bas-reliefs on the walls.
Barbaccia was born in Philadelphia, but when he was a toddler, the family moved to rural New Jersey. He began drawing in earnest when he was six, at first to capture the attention of his second-grade teacher, whom he admired. But soon his family began to take notice. “Since then, except for six months in 1979 when I took a motorcycle trip [out west], I never stopped making images.” After taking classes at Philadelphia’s Tyler School of Fine Arts, Barbaccia traveled through the United States and the South Pacific, drawing and painting in a “mostly representational style.” In 1996 he settled in Potomac Falls, Virginia, where over the next two decades his experiments with encaustics, freestanding sculpture, and mixed media gained increasing attention and recognition.
The prolific artist has exhibited widely – over 35 group shows and 10 solo exhibitions – in galleries and major venues throughout the East Coast and the mid-Atlantic, including the Greater Reston Art Center, Delaware Contemporary, Rehoboth Art League, and Washington’s Corcoran Gallery. He’s been the subject of dozens of articles and reviews, both as an artist and as an illustrator with three published children’s picture books (and a fourth underway).
Barbaccia had always had a large studio, but in 2018 he and his wife (also an artist) moved to Georgetown, Delaware, where his workspace was smaller. Realizing “I would have to change my materials and methods to accommodate the new reality,” he landed on polymer clay as “the perfect choice.” The material – with its transparency and a full color spectrum – allows him to create in both two and three dimensions. It led Barbaccia in a new direction. “Approximately 90% of the artists creating with polymer clay create jewelry. I thought the time was right to expand its visual range.”
As well as inspiring Barbaccia, working with polymer clay has challenges. Using atypical art materials, “I sometimes come up against limiting parameters in applications to shows or competitions . . . [including] a list of accepted materials that doesn’t include polymer clay.” And the pandemic has led to a scarcity of his chosen material. But he continues to push against these and other constraints and revels in “showing and sharing my work.”
The Mezzanine Gallery, open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is located on the second floor of the Carvel State Office Building, 820 N. French Street, Wilmington.
Image: “Avatar,” 2021, polymer clay, 20 x 14 x .1 inches
The Mezzanine Gallery, located in the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington, features one-person exhibitions of Delaware artists in disciplines including painting, photography, sculpture, crafts, folk, and media arts.
To be considered for an exhibition, artists may submit a Mezzanine Gallery Application before the annual deadline of March 15.
Delaware’s Individual Artist Fellowships recognize artists for their outstanding quality of work and provide monetary awards. Individual Artist Fellows are publicly acknowledged and benefit from the additional exposure to their work. Visual artists who receive Individual Artist Fellowships are also given the opportunity to exhibit in the Mezzanine Gallery.
To be considered for a Fellowship, artists may submit an Individual Artist Fellowship Application before the annual deadline of August 1.
Visit the Gallery
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Photo ID required after 4:30 p.m.
On-street and garage parking available
Free and open to the public.
About the Gallery
The Mezzanine Gallery presents solo exhibitions of work by Delaware artists in disciplines including painting, photography, sculpture, crafts, folk, and media arts.
This opportunity is available to Delaware’s emerging and established visual artists who have won Individual Artist Fellowships, or have been chosen by the Division’s annual Gallery Panel.
Held the first Friday of the month from 5-7 p.m. Dates are subject to change.
October 7-28, 2022
Opening Reception: October 7 from 5:00pm-7:00pm
November 4-23, 2022
Opening Reception: November 4 from 5:00pm-7:00pm
December 2-30, 2022
Opening Reception: December 2 from 5:00pm-7:00pm
Our annual exhibition schedule runs from
September to August, with a new exhibition
every month except in January.
*2022 Individual Artist Fellow