“it’s about time”
A celebration of friendship and lifelong creativity.
This exhibition brings together the work of these Italian American artists.
ABOUT THE EVENT
The exhibition, It’s About Time, brings together three artists, Richard Lazzaro, Andre Ferrella and Antonio Testolin who have been friends for more than thirty years sharing an Italian heritage and cultural passion, all the while exchanging aesthetic opinions and ideas.
Each comes from mid-western traditions in their early art training where making art was a commitment to personal relevance through recognizable treatment of themes promoting values that convey the romanticism of everyday life. The artists in their early study learned historical and regional art traditions and their mutual artistic development was initially engaged in mastering drawing skills before pursuing other processes. As time evolved in their careers each artist created innovative works in a variety of media applying new emerging sensibilities and technology that nurtured their individuality.
Uniquely, they have found a path to invigorate their art with a fresh approach, whose creative endeavors connect to the evolving approaches of contemporary thought and process. Respectively, they demonstrate a passion for the physicality of their work and approach it with emotional vigor. It's About Time their journey of artistic achievements are collectively pondered, compared and contrasted...in one exhibition.
MEET THE ARTISTS
LAZZARO’s early work were efforts to test his sensibilities to discover where he fits as an artist. His work was tied to the tradition of representation, dedicated to an expression that embraced feelings directly connected to human experience in the model of Francisco Goya and Max Beckman. In 1956 he attended an exhibition at a new gallery in Cleveland, the Howard Wise Gallery, where he viewed for the first time the work of the New York School, the Abstract Expressionists. He found the paintings to be exhilarating and was inspired to explore abstraction.
His vigorous lyrical abstraction evokes a vitality of spirit and life movement. The artist’s process creates a force sending off energy in different directions. In his work, rhythm and relationship of parts cannot be separated; every brush stroke is a part of the design, the spirit which creates the part motivates the whole. The airy lightness of his art forms a lyrical quality evoking visual sounds that enliven the marks, colors and shapes into symbols of personal expression.
"I do not want a painting to be a static object but a dynamic field of energy and activity where the eye of the observer is kept busy following the hand of the artist."
In Lazzaro’s work the process of painting is important in determining the formation of the painting, an influence from Abstract Expressionism and revived in the 1970’s by post painterly abstraction and field painting. His art follows an evolution of creating art for its own sake, subject to the laws of art rather than nature. The work is free from any association foreign to the act of painting. This determines the nature and reality of the work and its developed mark making, non-objective language. The subject of the painting is the painting itself. The life, activity and illusion of the painting begin and end within the work and are not a fragment of something larger.
It is not idea but feeling that confers upon his art. Whereas in prose (as in representational art), the representation of what is presented communicates one’s knowledge of sense or thought of the object; Lazzaro’s abstraction is, instead, like poetry and music which expresses how the object affects us emotionally. He explores the autographic mark or gestured activity such as that found in graffiti or marks that appear as pictographs and symbols much like the calligraphy in eastern and island cultures and the scrawling found in inner cities. He observes, “Man's markings create a dynamic presence of its own and are expressive actions impulsively made by individuals screaming out for identity. The mark becomes the ego, the persona, animating and transforming what it adorns into ‘monuments’ depicting human thought and activity that over the centuries of mankind carries a history of imagery that characterizes and distinguishes time.”
FERRELLA was encouraged by his artist mother to make art since childhood and helped cultivate his talent. As a youngster he was an accomplished realist and loved to paint. He started photography to document his paintings and eventually developed a strong interest in its potential use. His work in photographic processing utilizes mold, bacteria and dirt, scraping and painting on the negative to mutate the film resulting in large-sized prints that present brightly colored, textured images. He circulates developer with kidney dialysis pumps over exposed paper in an oversized tray tilted upward like a painter’s easel, often projecting additional layers of images onto the wet emulsion. This enables him to work “wet” and accumulate a layering of images, or to employ other striking alterations more related to painting techniques. These painterly alterations and color developing choices emphasize the sensuality and formal beauty of his source material, however abstract the end product. His complicated process creates prints of sublime simplicity and haunting visual impact.
Exploring various media is Ferrella’s passion. He is fascinated by all advancement of any and all technology relative to creative exploration and likes to expand on materials and processes to extend them to create emotional, spiritual images that can captivate one’s imagination.
Ferrella’s paintings reflect the sensibility of the Surrealists in their illusionistic depiction of distorted human forms interwoven with miscellaneous patterns set against an environment of mystic forms. The images of the paintings are forcibly emotional and mysterious in their strong contrasting intense color, taping the unconscious mind through their irrational juxtaposition. The works create a ritualistic moment of worship that engages the imagination of the viewer.
TESTOLIN was partly raised in Italy as a youth being exposed to the marble sculpture of the Renaissance. He remembers as a child looking up at giant feet and toes and the beauty and mystery of the sharply folded draping forms surrounding the sculptured figures. As an adult those early impressions drew him back several times to Italy after his formal art education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There he learned marble carving techniques of stone from Italian master carvers and embraced the three-dimensional qualities it produced. The touch of marble and bronze with its essence of permanence enlivens him when carving or casting. His intrigue is how those materials transform from rough and jagged surfaces to emerging smooth and polished forms that evoke a sensual quality. He explores the relation of marble with other materials such as bronze, stainless steel, and wood, utilizing the tactile contrast and pictorial connection between them. The power of emotion and sensual simplicity of form in the work of sculptors such as Michelangelo, Henri Moore, Alberto Giacometti, Constantin Brancusi is a strong example that influenced the direction Testolin would take in his art.
The impending theme of Testolin’s work is to express indignation with challenging influences that society imposes on the human experience. In his work idealized human form serves as an icon, a representation of human potential that ultimately conflicts with societal pressures and limitations. Viewing his sculpture, there is a visual interlude between encompassing figures and abstract forms. Figures peering out from the surface in juxtaposition to abstract forms from which they emerge are woven into the piece with a harmonious sense of movement.
The beauty, grace, and strength within the human form is a metaphor for the rebirth or rethinking of society. This motif is the emotional expression of the work intended to be provocative and haunting with the purpose to hopefully influence society to ponder a connection to humanity in a positive way. The emotional expression of Testolin’s works is not overpowering, but subtle to implant in the viewer a more open and accepting frame of mind.