Projects > Rough Beauty (2012)

26 May - 7 June 2012

La Fagiana
Via di Castello 23, Tereglio (Lucca), Italy

Hosts: Giovanna e Massimo Duranti

Rough Beauty is a body of work produced in 2011-12. These works in various media began in response to Tereglio’s mountainous beauty and isolated serenity, and from there evolved into deeper, more personal, subtle, and complex explorations of two aspects of beauty -- the obvious and the veiled. I find companions in the romantics of the past, with their focus on nature’s heroic beauty. But even more important is the discovery of beauty in its most unlikely forms -- discarded objects, weather-worn walls, lifeless plants -– which I transform through meticulous attention to detail, gestural brushwork, and unique juxtapositions and layerings.

The exhibition included watercolor paintings, digital photographs, video, sound, and painted photographs. These were exhibited at La Fagiana, a beautifully restored bed and breakfast, one of several recent restorations in the medieval village of Tereglio, 30 km north of Lucca. The watercolor paintings are derived from botanic specimens, found objects, fleeting observations, and notebook entries, combined with references to the landscape and the feel of the earth – they are both spontaneous and rigorous, with traces of bodily gesture and gravity’s pull on the paint. The digital photographs magnify a transitory world by isolating instants, surfaces, and objects that are both fixed and ephemeral. A series of painted photographs combines these two impulses, grafting the immediacy of painted forms onto photographic imprints of the real world.

Rough Beauty also included Lumaca, a mesmerizing video close-up of a snail eating; and a sound piece, Diminuendo, a delicate sound collage of multiple music boxes winding down to silence.

In all these works, I never seek to replicate nature or accident. Instead, I respond viscerally to the world I encounter, reconstituting its liveliness through pigment, gesture, image, and light into a delicate yet complex world of poetic associations.