By Emerson Andrews
Pittsburgh Current Intern
Stefani Allegretti never expected to remain in Pittsburgh when she was accepted to the University of Pittsburgh to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in studio art. A New Jersey native, she figured the move would last the couple of years she needed to complete the degree.
“But my husband…moved here and we just ended up really loving Pittsburgh. The art scene basically is really amazing. There’s a lot of support for artists and opportunities for artists,” she says. “Also, just the city itself is a very unique city.”
Allegretti says that unlike other metropolitan areas, Pittsburghers do not have to travel far to find quieter, rural areas. This appeals to the interdisciplinary artist, whose work focuses primarily on the environment and nature.
Her new solo exhibition Reverberations of Love, presented by ASSEMBLE through the end of August, is no exception, though it takes a different form. The new exhibit is inspired by sound and the positive impact it can have on people. Allegretti achieves this both by visually presenting the sound waves in pieces such as “Peace, Love, Light” and through the use of music.
That music will be played on instruments the typical attendee might not be expecting, singing bowls. Drawing on a tradition that reaches back to the Chinese Taoism, singing bowls were part of meditation and today can be part of sound therapy or healing practices. Different bowls are related to different parts of the body, mind or spirit, depending on the size of the bowl and what materials it is made from.
“The singing bowls are different in that they’re more of a curve,” Allegretti says, in reference to the visual presentation of sound waves. That was something new she discovered in creating this exhibit. As a solo exhibit, Allegretti had to create most of the pieces before submitting a proposal to be accepted at the venue, which makes for a much longer planning process than submitting work as part of a group exhibition.
Allegretti had help in the form of family, including her sister, Nicole Allegretti, who is a certified sound-healing practitioner. Nicole Allegretti has experience playing singing bowls, and it is her playing that attendees will hear when they visit the exhibit. Some of the pieces will be accompanied by an mp3 so that visitors get the full experience of sound.
This is not just limited to the singing bowls, as one piece in particular, “You Are Loved” has an accompanying mp3 player recording as well.
“I actually recorded twelve individuals, different voices, all saying ‘you are loved,’ and then kind of combined them and layered them. And they’re different ages, genders and race,” Allegretti says. “That was one of my favorite pieces in the show so far.”
The sound waves were given color as well, sometimes utilizing color theory such as in her two different versions of “Peace, Love, Light” done in warm and then cold colors.
In the future, Allegretti has no plans for another solo exhibit for some time but will continue to create pieces for group shows. Her next focus is on using recycled materials in a mixed-media format. One such example from her portfolio includes the use of coffee cup sleeves to mimic the roofing on a house. She enjoys getting to work in multiple different areas, though the majority of her work, including most of the pieces made for Reverberations of Love, is done in digital art.
Allegretti hopes that people who view the exhibit come away from it recognizing the importance and the role of sound in our day to day lives, as well as the positive and healing aspects it can provide.
“Because of advances in technology we can actually kind of see the vibrations of sound, and it’s something I don’t know if people really think about a lot of the time,” she says. “All of the recordings are recordings of words or phrases that are supposed to evoke a positive — like a sense of love or something positive.”