CORNER BROOK Alexandra Chrappa is about to expose herself, in more ways than one.
“Exposed,” an exhibition of paintings and sculptures by the Little Rapids woman, opens this evening at JL Gallery on Broadway.
It’s the first time Chrappa has ever exhibited her work to the public.
Painting and drawing is something that she’s done for years, but something she never really took seriously.
“It was just something I did as a hobby here and there,” she said as she set up the exhibit on Monday.
But over the years that changed.
“I’ve had encouragement from people to take it more seriously and to keep learning, too.”
Looking at her work one would think that she studied art.
But no — Chrappa is a chef by trade and also holds degrees in philosophy and psychology.
What she’s learned has come from studying art books and through travel, and now she’s hoping to improve on that by taking lessons. She recently started studying with local artist Rodney Mercer.
The paintings she’s selected to display in “Exposed” include several from a breastfeeding series that she’s currently working on that was inspired through her work with the Bay of Islands Organization for Breastfeeding Support.
She said research conducted by the organization showed that breastfeeding is not the norm here.
“Showing images of women’s bodies that isn’t done in a sexualized way or where the women are being objectified to sell something for marketing purposes, but just seeing the beauty of a normal woman breastfeeding, that wasn’t something you see a lot of, so I decided that I wanted to do that.”
Another of the paintings exposes more of the artist herself.
“As part of my evolution as a painter I decided to do a self portrait and I guess that could be said to represent the stage in artistic expression I’m at right now, so literally I’m exposed.”
Then there is one that she is most proud of, a portrait of her 11-year-old son Max Chrappa, who is perhaps her biggest critic.
Another, an abstract, took her through a meditative experience.
“It was completely different than other things I’ve done because it was literally just making lines and not knowing what it was going to evolve into,” she said.
“I had no clue what the design of the painting was going to be when I started and it just grew with me and I found it such a relaxing, pleasant thing.”
The painting part of the exhibit is rounded out by some paintings of food. There are also a few charcoal drawings and some clay and plaster sculptures.
The opening reception for the exhibition will take place at the gallery from 5 to 7 p.m. “Exposed” will be on display until Feb. 11.