Artist Statement

Belshazzar Feast

Belshazzar Feast

For the past thirty years, I have concentrated my efforts on the realization of MILLE, a project that recreates some of the architectural conventions of the Italian church. A Canadian who emigrated from Italy, I both participate in and observe the Italian Diaspora. My references to such culturally specific ecclesiastical architecture certainly rely on personal experience but also seek to examine some of the underpinnings of European Catholicism, a church that presumes universality.

To date, I have completed a number of large-scale sculptural installations based on church furnishings and architectural ornamentation, many on a scale appropriate to the size of a large, yet absent public building. An example of such work is represented by a set of portals with woven geometric shapes in aluminum sheathing. My sculptures are obviously temporary, made with unfinished construction-grade wood and a number of unconventional building materials such as wax, recycled aluminum and copper printing plates, glass and soft drink cans. I combine ideas that can only be evoked by past forms and bring them into the present by using contemporary materials to express socio political and religious concepts, in order to speak about ideas that are interconnected, regardless of time and place of execution.

I hope to critically engage the universalizing ambitions of both the early and contemporary religious art by recontextualizing these ideas in conditional and new environments. As an extension of my exploration of ecclesiastical fixtures, I am now working with a hybridized combination of mosaic and tapestry to recreate traditional momento mori still-life motifs. To make this work, I weave thin aluminum strips, which incorporate the pixilated aspect of mosaic and the woven structure of tapestry.  Using familiar images of fast-food products such as shiny potato chip bags and candy bar wrappers, French fries and donuts, as is evident in the work of The Last Supper a 20-foot-wide tapestry woven out of recycled beverage containers, drawing attention to concerns related to branding, globalization and the spectacle of junk food marketing practices that disregard the environment. The cutting and weaving of the cans pays homage to artist hand and to the craft that was and still is to an extent my art making process.

I see my work as incorporating history through the art making process and by referencing aspects of ancient Roman mosaics, allegorical still-life paintings, and tapestry, which is reinvented into images that are also concerned with contemporary ideas of mass consumption. The exhibition at the Oakville Galleries will showcase one of my large works titled, The Last Supper, which depicts popular contemporary North American meal choices commonly known as junk food. The title and subject matter, is both a reference to the well-known religious subject painted by many artists in the past and playfully points to the contemporary dangers associated with the consumption of junk food. My Last Supper also intentionally celebrates the handmade in contrast to our present-day fascination with technology.