John Gentile’s Digital-Pictorial Alchemy
By Art Critic Antonio Gasbarrini
It is not easy to enter into Gentile’s Kaleidoscopic poetic universe (An Italian & American Artist) as Charles Giuliano justly defines it, unless the fundamental phases of his Italian academic education and subsequent American creative influences are not explored. The mixed stylistic and expressive qualities of this Italian and American artist are revealed in the sharpened use of warm and expressive color, genetically Mediterranean, yet set in a metropolitan matrix.
Definitely post-pop, yet able to capture marked differences more than analogies: in my view, what should be searched for is the fine use of contour lines that prepare the final version whose visual adventure coincide with the cutting-out of the initial image immediately pasted on canvas (recalling ‘Papiers decoupes et assemles in Rodin’s erotic drawings or Matisse’s analogous monochromatic sensual nudes is inevitable) upon which the analogical digital painter intervenes using acrylic colours, computer scanning for formal and chromatic manipulation, new projection on canvas, contour designing, and so on forever, in a sort of potential loop (didn’t medieval monks paint God’s portrait all of their lives, since the difference between their retouching was so distant from a Demiurgo platonian ideal of perfection?)
Aside from this singular procedure, from others already adopted or that may be adopted in the future through advancement in computer technology, in Gentile’s work what really stands out is modern syntax (laying out of form) and lexicon (sign, colour etc.) which is never detached from a solid basic conception of the various lessons offered by the Masters of the past.
Conflating High Art and Popular Culture,
Recent paintings by John Gentile.
By Art Critic Charles Giuliano, Professor of art history, School of Art and Design at Suffolk University in Boston, MA.
The initial response to the paintings is their apparent abstraction. One is absorbed by the play of high chroma colors, areas of bright red and yellow that with heat and energy push away from the supporting surface toward the viewer. This is held in check by areas of lower, darker chroma, often variations of gray and other subtle blends of tonality that push back, and recede in space away from the viewer. There is a layering of space that denies the use of perspective. The depth is achieved without resorting to such classical devices as the visual cone, and foreshortening. The eye tends to move across the surface of the canvas enjoying the play of texture derived from alterations between passages applied with the brush as well as harder flatter areas resulting from the use of palette knife. These abstract components reveal to the viewer that the artist has been truly involved in the dialogue surrounding the development of high art and modernism. But what initially appears to be a non-objective, or abstract painting, on closer inspection, deconstructs to reveal recognizable, witty and clever figurative components.