Abigail Green / The Daily Gamecock

Columbia-born artist transforms childhood toys into works of art

Janet Orselli’s re:Visions exhibit debuted at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art on Jan. 17.

Orselli is a Columbia-born installation artist who currently resides in the mountains of North Carolina. Her exhibit is a reflection of her childhood and intends to give art enthusiasts a sense of nostalgia while viewing her work.

When fans of Orselli entered the exhibit, they were immediately met with pieces woven out of wood. Tennis rackets lined the walls, some shaped as dolls and others shaped into unique creations. The tennis rackets, as described by Orselli, were once owned by a friend who intended to sell them on eBay. When Orselli’s friend was unable to auction them, Orselli took the tennis rackets off of her hands and incorporated them into her exhibit.

The exhibit was centered on a four-by-four chess board. Chess pieces were made of different materials, two of the pieces being spindles bought from George Fulton, a Columbia-native photographer. 

“My favorite piece is the chess board because I spent so much time on it,” John Chang, a third-year public relations student, said. “Repainting it and restoring it; it was fun.”

Chang, along with the other interns, aided Orselli in assembling her exhibit. The interns helped Orselli arrange it into their perfect masterpiece by climbing on ladders, painting and piecing together the various works.

“Me and the other interns and Hannah, the director, do a lot of installing,” Chang said.

The casual event drew an audience of aesthetes, art enthusiasts and friends of Orselli. Around the time that re:Visions officially began, Orselli grabbed the attention of the crowd observing her work with a horn.

Orselli’s knee-high, black-and-white striped socks with a formal shirt was a statement of her childhood, which is the purpose of re:Visions. She welcomed fans by telling one of her favorite stories, the story of Mary the broken doll. Mary was a glass doll strapped to a wicker chair featured above Orselli’s head.

The night took art enthusiasts back to their own childhoods through pieces of Orselli’s own childhood.

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