The daughter of a three-star admiral, Onofrio grew up on the Atlantic seaboard scouring the beach for shells, sticks and other treasures. Both of her parents were avid collectors and this love for amassing objects became an obsession with Onofrio. Her great-aunt Trude was another influential family member that shared her obsession. She fondlyrecalls the magical garden that Aunt Trude created from the many objects she had amassed over a lifetime. The playful and total lack of reverence evident in California artist Robert Arneson?s work appealed to Onofrio and was a major influence upon her career. This unorthodox approach led the artist to incorporate fantasy into her mixed media pieces. Her work became much more passionate as she relaxed in a style that fit her perfectly. After more than twenty years of working in ceramics, soft sculpture, performance, installation and fiber art she had finally discovered her true passion for constructing imaginative works from her own collection of accumulated treasures. Onofrio received the Arts Midwest/National Endowment for the Arts Regional Fellowship Grant in 1994, the Bush Artist Fellowship in 1998 and the McKnight Foundation Fellowship in the Visual Arts in 1995. She exhibits both nationally and internationally and has her works in the collections of museums such as the Copper-Hewitt Museum, the Smithsonian?s National Museum of Design in New York and the Arabia Museum in Helsinki, Finland. According to the artist, this mystifying mixed media creation titled Fish Wish is actually a metaphor for putting yourself in a gambling situation. Onofrio states that, ?it is about the fantasy of fishing and having no idea what you are going to catch.? The situation requires searching and being involved with change. Onofrio adds that ? this can refer to the process in my studio with my work and in my everyday life or with any situation that comes up.? The lavish embellishments allover this figurative work literary dazzles the eye of the viewer as it stimulates the imagination.
Aeling received her B.A. degree in painting and printmaking from Colorado State University in Fort Collins in 1988 and her M.F.A. degree in painting from the University of Washington in Seattle. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Graduate Fellowship from the University of Washington, a National Fine Art Award, a Smithville Special Award, and an Art St. Louis Honor Award. Her work has been exhibited at the Laguna Gloria Art Museum in Austin, Texas; the Hoyt Institute of Art in New Castle, Pennsylvania; and the Boulder Center for the Visual Arts in Boulder, Colorado. In this painting, Aeling balances a small image on the left that relates directly to the large image on the right. The dialogue between these images seems charged with emotion, whereas the sedate blue color to the left emits a calm and somber mood. The surprising spray of green color in the middle adds another element of intrigue to this intellectually challenging work.