Mark Mastroianni

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Natural Wisdom
September 8 – October 28, 2012
Woodward Gallery

  • Bon Fire, 2012
    Mixed media on gessoed wood panels
    108 x 60 inches; 274.3 x 152.3 cm
  • L to R:
    Salt Mound;
    Plowed Field
  • L to R:
    Waiting Tree;
    Autumn Fence
  • L to R:
    Dick Blick and Burnt Stick;
    Snow Ball;
    Compost Pile
  • L to R:
    Waiting Tree;
    Plowed Field;
    Snow Ball
  • Autumn Fence, 2012
    Mixed pigments on gessoed panel
    72 x 144 inches; 182.9 x 365.76 cm
  • Hay Bale, 2011
    Mixed pigments on gessoed tarpaper
    71 x 71 inches; 180.3 x 180.3 cm

Opening the Fall 2012 Art Season is Mark Mastroianni’s “Natural Wisdom” exhibition at Woodward Gallery. Mastroianni returns to his unique gessoed tarpaper and mixed media paintings he had begun working with twenty years ago. The once abstract qualities in his work have now shifted toward a representational clarity and yet, Mastroianni continues to convey what he has always evoked so extraordinarily well: the soul of our objective world. The new body of work is imprinted with history: a lifespan, rather than a captured state.

Mastroianni’s transfigured representation creates something far more powerful than technically accurate rendering of familiar objects. Here, the realism of his fences, snowballs, hay bales, and salt mounds, is subordinated to a more primal force leaching from the color and light. The deeply graphic quality of each scene, the hyper-relief of lines and crevices that overtakes each piece, actually removes the representational aspect just enough to startle us. The effect is like that of a dream we recall for its precise details, for the emotional power of those details, made all the more potent because of how distorted they are in the waking reality of our lives.

The magic of Mark Mastroianni’s “Natural Wisdom” is in how each piece triggers our own memory of what it contains. His imagery become the ghosts of our own imprints in life, our own personal associations with common objects.

Here lives the great empathy of this work. Artist Mark Mastroianni has created a series of delivery systems of our own capacity for memory. These littered tree trunks, snowballs, dead sunflowers. The seasonal shifts of light and color, the moody silences and cold snaps. They are our past the moment we step into the work. Their mystery reminds us of ourselves, of how we live inside everything around us.