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ArtsWestchester to Feature White Plains Artist

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- White Plains artist Mari Ogihara , 30, scours the discount racks for unique pantyhose to help add texture when glazing her clay sculptures. Ogihara said this unique decorative technique ties together the five female figure sculptures she'll debut in ArtsWestchester's Sculpture: On & Off the Wall exhibit opening Friday.

"I stretch women's pantyhose over the piece and then spray on glazes through the pantyhose, which leaves crazy patterns. It's almost like a snake skin," Ogihara said. "I developed it in school and it's really expanded. In my thesis, I was exploring different cultures and ornamentation. The pantyhose kind of related to that ritual of dressing."

Ogihara said it's "a treat" to have her work shown in an eight-week long exhibit beside 19 other sculptors in "her town." After earning a graduate degree from Temple University, Ogihara moved to White Plains in 2006 while completing a one-year residency at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester . She "loved Westchester" and never left the Port Chester studio or White Plains.

She hopes the five sculptures help viewers look inwards.

"All the girls in the show have their eyes closed. The fact that they look more introspective, I guess, gives a message of reflection and self-center. My hope is that viewers looking at it then look at themselves," Ogihara said.

Ogihara said she crafted the five sculptures in 2010 with inspiration from "Frank Art," a 1920s line of lamps, ashtrays and other table top pieces often shaped as women.

"They're very streamlined, very simple girls that usually hold an ash tray or lamps. My mom collects them. She's always had an influence on what I create," Ogihara said. "I grew up looking at them and appreciating them."

The Michigan native said she's also constantly gathering ideas from her students at the College of New Rochelle and Norwalk Community College.

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