An image of a window looking out onto the frosty snow capped trees of a mountainside evokes the sensation of a crisp cold day. It was this initial response to the landscape, framed through his studio window upon arriving in Johnson, Vermont, that spurred Paolo Piscitelli’s investigation of drawing during his residency. In the monochromatic drawings he created during his time there, one can see the mirroring of the mountainous ridges, and the inspired movements of line and form inherited from his environment.
At the Vermont Studio Center residency in November/December 2011 Piscitelli made drawings from live model sessions daily; a practice he seldom engages in. He saw the contours of the model echoing the curves and forms of the landscape that surrounded him. He abstracted the details of the figure by making loose gestural marks and upon returning to the studio, arranged the drawings into various grid-like or linear constructions. He also began pairing the drawings with objects he found at the residency (in one piece an overturned stool appears, propped precariously against the wall below the drawings).
Using this anagram technique, whereby the individual drawings formed connections to the surrounding space, he produced new forms and compositions that to him resemble rural landscapes in Vermont. Piscetelli writes that the anagram technique is “more or less like the act of dreaming, [and] combines in a variety of ways, often using randomness, fragments of an experienced reality in order to create new narratives.” By applying this method to his site-specific installations, Piscitelli is able to create responses to his surroundings that have helped shift his studio practice. The juxtaposition of entangled marks in Piscetelli’s drawings and incorporation of three-dimensional found objects are the development of new relational spaces; interactive spaces that function on many planes.
Heather MacRae is an MFA painting candidate at the Savannah College of Art and Design, a Kay Walking-Stick award winner she has exhibited in Connecticut, New York, and Georgia. She is the co-founder of and a writer for the art blog, foconow. She currently resides in South Salem, NY and Savannah, GA.
Paolo Piscitelli’s exhibition “More Work More Space” is currently on view at the Lawndale Art Center, Houston, TX