Italian artist Siro Cugusi speaks 'visual language' at Lux
The abstract paintings of Italian artist Siro Cugusi defy a
clear definition. The colors and textures suggest dreamlike, imaginary
scenes with a variety of shapes that seem both real and surreal.
paintings do not correspond with reality,” agreed Reesey Shaw, the
director of Lux Art Institute. His works “derive from his dreams,
subconscious, fleeting thoughts and abstract ideas. He rejects
traditional narrative painting to demonstrate his own personal
Cugusi, the current Lux resident artist, uses canvas, wood, pages
from books and varied types of paper as a base. His paintings often have
a combination of oils and other media, including acrylics, spray paint,
enamel, pencils and pastels, applied in multiple layers. The result is
not so much a picture, but a state of thoughts and feelings he calls a
Generally, art gallery visitors are accustomed
to looking at an abstract painting, and then reading the title to learn
what it represents. Cugusi, however, does not give his works a name.
Each is assigned a letter or a number or both.
“I do not want people to lock in on the name of the
painting,” Cugusi said through a translator. “I do not want them to
think about the concept based on the title. My paintings are a kind of
visual language. People will see the concepts and the colors. They will
see the steps and the layers. They will clearly see the whole process.An exhibit of 12 Cugusi paintings is on view through March
18. Cugusi is living and working in the artist’s pavilion through Feb.
18. Three days a week, visitors can meet him and see him create a large
oil painting for Lux.
The artist refers to himself as a forager of
ideas and feelings, which he collects in notes, photos and sketches of
memories, events and people.
“My art results from all my
experiences everywhere I go,” Cugusi said. “I am in constant search for
inspiration. I collect impressions of my everyday life and absorb what
is around me.”Those thoughts and memories will find a way into his work, sometimes years later.Siro Cugusi
is from Sardinia, an island off Italy. He has studied and exhibited in
cities such as Florence and Paris. He values what he learned in these
places, “but I realized how different and frenetic a big city is,” he
“Sardinia is calm and relaxed. I can connect with nature. It
provides an isolation so that I can do the art I want to do without
Shaw noticed Cugusi’s work during her
many art exploration travels. He seemed a perfect choice to be part of
the 10th anniversary of the artist-in-residence program’s global theme.
particularly look for artists from unusual places using unexpected
materials with unique visions,” she said. “Siro is a painter of unusual
imagination and scale.
“I was intrigued and excited to bring him from a town of 3,000 in Sardinia to do a project with Lux.”
“I am grateful to have the chance to be here, in San Diego,” Cugusi said. “All my experiences here will become a part of me.”
His time at Lux has already given him a fresh outlook. He said he is using colors he hasn’t used in years.
The artist described his personal process of painting in terms of being a father creating a son.
paintings are my sons,” Cugusi said. “To create something means to give
form to something that does not have a form. To give form is to give
Anna Zorina Gallery is pleased to announce Awkward, a group exhibition
curated by Shaun Ellison. The exhibition features eight painters that
are united in the pursuit of denying technical conventions of realism.
Instinct, direct perception and spontaneous feeling guide each artist’s
mark making. This allows for unexpected, and at times, ungraceful
elements to emerge from within their subjective conceptions
of the world. The impulsiveness with which the artists express their
immediate sensations unlocks the potential to portray a perspective that
is intimate and unapologetically awkward.
Siro Cugusi –
“Awkward relates to the original gesture. I believe the original gesture
is the best. It has to do with imprecision, transience, incompleteness
and imperfection. Awkward means uncertainty and truth at the same time.”
John Bradford – “When, early on, I started painting from my
imagination, I gave up the fluid hand that happens when responding to
nature and it was difficult. It felt artificial and, yes, awkward. I
eventually got back the hand but with texture and rigor added. I also
kept the awkward; it felt natural.”
Katherine Bradford - “To
paint in an awkward style means a loose handling of paint and a
forgiving attitude toward surprise mishaps. Somehow these turn out to be
just what we wanted but couldn’t have imagined.”
Shaun Ellison – “Awkward to me means: a vulnerability to the process
and an openness to accidents.” William Hawkins – “You paint as you go.”
Paul Housley – “Being awkward I would use the word difficult. It’s a
place that lies between desire and attainment. But my foolishness is my
own, and belongs to no God, not even the ones of Painting.”
Cristina Lama – “Awkward, in painting, as unifying concept, I think it
alludes to an intuitive way of tackling the work, without complexes and
with an implicit will to get away from any academic restraint, precepts
and dogmas, just responding to fundamentally pictorial guidelines as a
Tim Stoner – “I'm not that interested in logic or any level of self
deconstruction when I am actually making the work, I feel that painting
is a moment, or a series of moments that work when one is unanchored
from the rules of style or language.”
Anna Zorina Gallery West 23 Street, 533 New York NY 10011 United States www.annazorinagallery.com