Relevant, passionate and fiercely devoted to the arts: these words are used to describe Gage Academy of Art, a fine art school in Seattle that...
Nicola Verlato, Fulvio di Piazza, Marco Mazzoni, and Agostino Arrivabene are fierce artists fired up about figurative art. The Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles will be hosting the Juxtapoz Italiano exhibit featuring their world-class contemporary artwork.
Figurative art is very representational, portraying images clearly derived from real objects. In an interview with Matteo Sapio, Marco Mazzoni describes how he became interested in the medium. “Ever since I was a kid, my parents wouldn’t hang up any of my paintings unless they could recognize a shape or form! Even as a child, I tried my hardest to create the most realistic work possible.”
Alas, figurative style wasn’t always as refined and sophisticated as Mazzoni’s sketch “Bride” or Arrivabene’s painting “Il Re”. Fulvio di Piazza speculates, “I believe that painting connects us to the concept of humanity, like when cavemen would mark symbols on rocks to depict the reality in which they lived but did not understand.” It appears that even the most primitive Homo sapiens had an elementary grasp of the concept.
Di Piazza’s “Green God” oil painting conveys a striking image of a human head made from mossy greens and engulfed by smoky clouds. He adds depth to the painting with timid trees emerging from the head, topped off with his signature splash of orange. Di Piazza captures audiences with intriguing paintings that connect us with the “concept of humanity” in a cosmopolitan, caveman-esque way.
Social media has dramatically transformed the art world, allowing these four artists to achieve great popularity on social media platforms. Nicola Verlato states, “I’ve always been a strong proponent of the revolutionary importance of digital media in the art field. Art absolves its functions only if it is legitimized in a social sense.” Di Piazza adds, “By sharing images of your work on Facebook, you create a crowd of followers, and you spread your work at a speed that was before inconceivable.”
Sadly, Italian museums have yet to support figurative art. Arrivabene laments, “They aim instead to make figurative art disappear by favoring conceptual and post-Dadaist avant-gardes.” Verlato continues, “Italian museums are, for the most part, late in the game because they give expositional space to lifeless cultural currents rooted in a socially irrelevant vision of art.”
Luckily, digital media can offset the stodginess of Italian museums. Arrivabene asserts, “I view the Internet as a necessary weapon in demolishing the course thus far taken by contemporary art.”
From Nicola Verlato’s electrifying “Breaking Point” painting depicting a scantily clad woman plunging from a Chevrolet car into a vulnerable eagle’s nest to Arrivabene’s refreshing “Amor Vincit Omnia”, the figurative artists defy convention in an exciting way. Di Piazza says, “Art brings us back to our human essence. In front of an artwork, we reflect and are silently moved.”
IIC directors Massimo Sarti and Michela Magri are proud to play host to this exhibition, stating, “Verlato, di Piazza, Mazzoni, and Arrivabene are four artists whose work, while being different in many aspects, produces images of extraordinary impact through a peculiar technique. Presenting their works at the IIC allows them to open dialogue about a new way to discover and experience art.” Michela Magri emphasizes the importance of a convergence, or juxtaposition between the different yet connected artistic traditions of California and Italy.
The exhibition began to form in 2013 with former IIC director Alberto Di Mauro, and then evolved under the guide of Massimo Sarti and Michela Magri. With the collaboration of magazine publisher Gwynn Vitello, co-founder Fausto Vitello, and curator Matteo Sapio, this exhibition was ready to go. They met the four artists in Milan at the Galleria Giovanni Bonelli, which co-sponsored the event along with the IIC.
September 9th marked the grand opening night, in which guests of honor included the magazine’s founder Robert Williams and the distinguished art collector Greg Escalante, along with New Zealand singer Kimbra.
Come enjoy the exhibit from now until October 1 and be silently moved. Let your emotions run free with Verlato’s paintbrush and di Piazza’s orange splashes.