FLUSHING, NY – From October 28 through December 23, the Queens College Art Center presents Ciphers in Time: Recent Italian Mixed-Media Art by three contemporary Italian artists: Angela Biancofiore, Luisella Carretta and Gian Carlo Pagliasso. The exhibit opens during October, Italian Heritage and Culture Month.
The artists presented in Ciphers in Time are individually original, each with a distinguished track record. The visual arts are usually a two or a three-dimensional means of expression, yet these artists are creating work that involves various ways of perceiving and understanding the fourth dimension, namely time. The reference to time symbolically links the work of the three artists.
Angela Biancofiore attempts to collapse time’s passage by recapturing the painterly gesture of the earliest human images as, for example, found in Stone Age caves. And yet, her colorful work is positioned somewhere between a child’s unconscious first experience of paint on a surface, and the more aggressive graffiti of a post-conceptual artist.
Poursuite, from the series Amori solari, by Angela Biancofiore.
Biancofiore, who is also a poet and professor of literature, has long been interested in how painting can make us aware of time. In fact, she has researched the cave paintings of early clans and inquired into their possible symbolisms. Not satisfied with simply recapturing how early men painted graffiti on granite or clay, she also wants to highlight the importance of the act of painting itself – in other words, the freezing of time in the splash of color and form. Biancofiore believes there is a connection between the “instantaneous present” of the artist’s contact with the surface, and the ancient human desire to leave a trace, mark a symbol, and give meaning.
Luisella Carretta, on the other hand, unhinges our understanding of sequential time in her artwork. Carretta, who runs a gallery and art lab in Genoa, likes to create layers, arranging pieces of paper or film, sketches and torn textiles so that they communicate different things simultaneously. She taunts the viewer by making him or her “guess” what part of a color scheme, writing or everyday material is missing. At the same time, she forces the viewer to think about possible connections among these different materials, chunks of thoughts or images. Her challenging art is clearly linked to the verbal-visual tradition in avant-garde art.
Giancarlo Pagliasso, who is from Turin and studied philosophy, delves into personal-social memory in his work. He presents an unpredictable yet recognizable variety of textile patterns. They are both familiar (some remind us of the clothing, tablecloths and quilts that our grandmothers sewed for use at home) and yet constantly new (for instance, as seen, ironically, in the fashion industry’s current patchwork designs and trend to revive older traditions). Pagliasso’s work makes us aware of a different sense of time as expressed through costume, social interaction, and the family.
All three artists bring into the material, spatial world of art the elusive ciphers or "nothings," the traces, echoes and allusions that can exist only in time and one’s experience of time. Their work tells the viewer that symbols are crucial to any understanding of time and existence itself.
The exhibition is guest curated by Professor Peter Carravetta, Department of European Languages and Literatures, Queens College. The exhibition is sponsored, in part, by the Department of European Languages and Literatures and the Queens College Office of Research and Graduate Studies.