July 12 - August 18, 2018
Gallery Open: Thursday - Monday 1-5pm
Opening Reception: Friday, July 13th, 6:00 - 8:30pm
Artist Panel Discussion: Friday, August 3rd, 6:30pm
Memory, Metamorphosis and Myth| East Gallery
The last day for Joseph Saccio - Memory, Metamorphosis and Myth will be Friday, Aug. 17th
The idea of three triptychs forming a Henge, MEMORY AND METAMORPHOSIS, stem from my discovery and working on a 20 ft. section of an old hollow, black oak tree trunk, about 4ft. in diameter. I divided the hollow trunk into three 6 ft. segments each of which I split vertically so that each segment was opened up into a triptych, resulting in three open books, or three medieval altar pieces, revealing the old tree’s inner life and history. The footprint for each 6 ft. high section is approximately 7’W and 3.5’-5’D. The inner, concave surfaces or the outer, convex bark surfaces were transformed in various ways to suggest new, strange growth and life in a tree that refuses to die. A person can actually walk into the inner space of the tree and imagine the force and struggle of living, dying and regeneration into another form. I have arranged the three triptychs into a henge, or circular formation, so that the viewer will be reminded of myth and ancient ritual while being further immersed in the tree.
The upright shards of the tree were split with a sledge and wedge producing irregular vertical divisions, violent wounds if you will, and the tree shards are arranged at varying angles to create torque and tension in the structure.
Each triptych is treated differently. Number one has new strange growth emanating from the bark leaving the interior concave aspect of the opened tree in it’s undisturbed inherent complexity. Number two contains new growth that resembles the abdominal gut or the serpent from the ancient Greek marble sculpture of Laocoön and his sons. Number three is roughly pierced by cedar lances with new growth struggling from the wounds.
FRANCIS BACON LOVES PROCRUSTES
This free standing sculpture refers to the deceased, great English painter, Francis Beacon, who created many disturbing but beautiful works. He was said to enjoy “rough trade”. Procrustes was an infamous character in Greek myth who was noted for his generous hospitality to strangers traveling by his house. He provided excellent food and drink followed by a very special bed for their last night. A wayfarer was either stretched to fit the bed if he was too short or his legs would be amputated to fit the bed perfectly. Hence the origin of the expression, “procrustean bed”, meaning a situation or place someone is forced into, often violently.
QUIVER FOR SAINT SEBASTIAN
This wall hung sculpture refers to the story of Saint Sebastian a Roman soldier and an early convert to Christianity who was put to death by the Roman authorities because of his conversion. He was tied to a tree and skewered with arrows. There are several Renaissance paintings of this scene.
But in this composition, St. Sebastian’s body becomes the quiver, the vessel slung over the shoulder containing infinite arrows which pierce his body longitudinally. This play on the word, “quiver” is another example of my interest in transforming decay, death or any difficult situation into something alive and aesthetic.
All Things Natural| West & TDP Galleries
For years now I have wandered the Housatonic River. Hiking along it, fishing its waters on occasion, canoeing its swift surface and sometimes just sitting or standing by its banks looking and thinking. It is, like other rivers, a source of contemplation, a source of renewal and it is very beautiful, especially in this neck of the woods.
The history of the world can be written in the stories of its rivers. They are living things. But this very life, it seems to me, is now threatened and as an artist I must respond. Not only as a chronicler, but as an advocate; I must make a statement.
My landscapes in the land of the Housatonic are not simply a reference to the end of the day, but to the threat I perceive for this beautiful river, the land around it, and for so many other natural wonders. I fear we are about to live in rapacious times. Times that will include a no holds barred assault on the natural world the likes of which we have not seen in our country in over a century.
There is a kind of darkness in my landscapes to be sure, and I fear this darkness broods over nature now in a way that I have not known before. This threat I feel is very real, very palpable.
So let us not be silent any of us. Let us watch the river, listen to its murmurs, and stand by it as it lies sleeping in its bed.
After teaching for over thirty years and sharing my knowledge with my students, I now am deeply involved with challenging my abilities and exploring every day with the two main media I use, photography and painting. For me there is a connection since I find myself being inspired by both as I create.
My major inspiration is my relationship with nature. Photography and painting allow me to attempt to visually describe my intimate feelings of the place where I live in northwest Connecticut and to other locations that I visit. Near my home the sense of place is reinforced by walking, canoeing, building stone cairns, and just seeing as I photograph. Indoors I print my photographs and and paint in my studio. My immediate intimate feelings are captured by my photography, both color and black and white. Often personal journals and sketches are also used to describe my interactions with nature.
Personally, photography is not just pointing and shooting at an object or scene, but “seeing” to capture an inner emotion that made me stop and aim the camera. I don’t believe a person hides behind the camera. What you photograph is who you are.
Although I have photographed a wide variety of subject matter thru the years, nature is what inspires me most often today. As Aristotle said, “In all things nature, there is something of the marvelous.”
My relationship to the land has always been tenuous. My appreciation of the plastic perhaps greater than the real. So I began my exploration of the land from a familiar vantage point, my car, but was quickly drawn closer and, eventually into the woods. Frequently lost therein I was fearful of heights, fearful of the unknown. Imagination came into play both then and now…imagined creatures and events in the extreme, from Disney to dementia.
With this work I chose to respond to the exterior scale, treating the prints in a looser, more painterly fashion. I worked with collaged and cut negatives, selectively bleaching and toning the images. There was also a response to the interior space, large but constructed/constricted by a dense linear weaving. Trapped in nature’s net, the discomfort was delicious!
Watching the Country Side
Artwork: of and on the land
Elements of the open landscape in their various arrangements and forms make appealing media. Things look good as they are and must therefore be perceived as art. Work done with the raw materials of the land and actions upon the land must also be perceived as art. As brushstrokes on canvas, the artist’s movements ON the land are also artwork. Although in some works a concern for process in important (the dowsing pieces for example) there is always a concern for the visual. The ”Pivot” and “Wood(s)signs” series, to name just two groups of outdoor works seem now to be somewhat conventional abstract paintings, but the were conceived as actions on the landscape and later translated to canvas. In the Pivot series pushing, by foot, a two-wheeled axle along the ground, formed a drawing in the dirt. The uneven pressure caused a pivoting motion with deep or shallow lines. Translated to canvas a new series of images emerge. Each series developing in a different manner and a different direction. The paintings of the land (the divided canvas Series) were begun in art school and still hold my interest, as 1968 remains my very favorite year.
I am fascinated by the impact of moments and the connections realized in those moments. That immediate visual response triggers a connection to a memory, thought, feeling, or idea. Trying to recapture that impact drives the painting process. The work is an attempt to translate that moment. Looking out at the world I see connections, things in things, and most often I seem to find these things manifest in the beautiful and inconspicuous details of the world.
For several years, trees have been the main focus of my paintings. Because of my sculpture background, I perceive negative space on canvas in three dimensions. By carving away this space with paint, the tree is revealed, a process of working from the outside to depict the inside. The paintings evolve as I repaint them over many times to find the exact color combinations in keeping with my vision. My most recent work is a series of small oil paintings of trees.
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