DIALOGHI DELL'ARTE: Inaugural Exhibition
McMaster Galleries at the University of South Carolina
An invitational exhibition featuring work by painters responding to the landscape of central Italy. The artists included in this exhibition are: Martha Armstrong (MA), Pamela Bowers (SC), Cynthia Bridgman (IL), Caren Canier (NY| Gubbio), Tina Engels (IL), Alan Feltus (Assisi), Jessie Fisher (MO), Lani Irvin (Assisi), Geoffrey Owen Miller (NY), Barry Nemett (MD) , Laini Nemett (MD), Richard Piccolo (Rome), Langdon Quin (NY|Gubbio) and David Voros (SC)
Pietrolo Portraits | (L) Scott, (R) Self-Portrait with Silk Dress
black and white chalk on hand-toned paper, 22x16" (ea)
The painter Scott Seebart and I have been traveling to Venice, Florence and Rome and surrounding cities for over 20 years and for the past 10 years have spent almost every summer and many Winter breaks working from the ornate fusion of visual archetype and artistic innovation that is the core of the Italian Renaissance. 2 summers ago, rather than staying in the cacophonous center of Florence or Rome, we rented a farmhouse on a mountain just outside of Citta di Castello located in the center of a collection of works, in situ, of Piero della Francesco which became the destination for day-trips, breaking the solitude of the ruins of the medieval town of Pietrolo where our farmhouse stood, isolated, the only renovated structure on a wild mountain that is home to screaming chiungale and an abundance of tadpoles as the trickle of fresh mountain water from our well pooled into a river that eventually joined the Tiber. Rather than the picturesque patchwork of distant multi-colored fields that decorate the mountains moving away in a blue haze of atmospheric perspective, it was the house itself that became the landscape that I studied, nestled inside of a forest alcove that hid the huge sky, the gnarled tree trunks and shifting beams of light, the walkways, the kitchen, the fireplace and the garden became a collection of shifting planes that confused scale and responded to composition through the touch of the painters hand and the direct physicality of an image in flux. At the same time, the works of Piero were a constant reminder of an image that serves geometry, slowly building a network of carefully balanced relationships. Creating an indirect image that hides its process. I developed a series of portraits that sought to slow the viewer down and to erase the hierarchy of mark-making, leaving a from that creates its own conventions of light.
This summer was especially influential for my work, as I transitioned from the use of the Italian facade as a lexicon that I understood only though a series of academic studies to the integration of its influence with my own use of allegory and form. I am honored to be included on this exhibition with a group of such amazing and serious painters who I have looked to as examples of excellence, invention, rigor and a subversive commitment to the act of looking.
July 4th, 2012
Pietrolo Farmhouse Polyptich, oil on paper, 8x8" to 12x11"