Nora Venturelli Studies the Human Figure

Local Artist Contributes to UMMA Programming

​Meet Nora Venturelli – a professor at the University of Michigan's Penny W. Stamps School or Art and Design and a contributor to UMMA’s Family Art Studio.

Nora VenturelliWhile Nora has resided in Ann Arbor for 25 years, she lived a life between the U.S. and Argentina. During the late 1970s, she struggled to study art under a military coup d'état. In college, she specialized in painting the human figure, but her university was not allowed to showcase nude models under the coup’s rigid surveillance.  This drove her to work in a private studio with Julio Vanzo, who would come to greatly influence her work.

“The human figure is all about us,” she explains. “It’s the human condition—and I love the complexity of it.” 

In order to study art more intensely, she moved to Ann Arbor to finish her BFA at the University of Michigan and eventually claimed her MFA from Eastern Michigan University. Now, as an established artist, she continues to focus on the human figure, but examines the way the human body can make statements about the human psyche.

“These pieces explore the conversations you have with yourself,” she says. 

Her work explores how poses and sequencing of body language suggests their own emotional dialogue. 

Nora features her work in the WSG Gallery, a cooperative gallery that came together 15 years ago, formed by local artists. She says that the cost of gallery space has skyrocketed in Ann Arbor, and while the area has plenty of local artists, many are rendered invisible because they have no place to display their work. Luckily, her gallery’s cooperative system allows local artists to showcase their creations at an affordable cost. 

When asked why it’s important for local artists to have spaces to showcase their work, she focuses on the importance of a community having its own art scene.  

“It connects you with your neighbor,” she says. “It connects you with the creative people around you. Places like the Detroit Institute of Arts connect you with the stars that you don’t have access to. At my gallery, the people are here in the area. They can talk to you about the work. And people enjoy that.”