The region of Abruzzo, on the Adriatic Sea, is the land of the very beginnings of western culture and where the ancient peoples - the Etruscans, the early Middle Eastern seafarers, the Greeks, the Romans - left their traces. Unlike Tuscany, where tourism dominates, the mountainous Abruzzo region is one of Italy's best kept secrets, and the heart of Italy's back country.
It's hard to explain the magic of living for a short while in a small town in Abruzzo by the sea. Imagine a traditional evening where families dress elegantly to walk the piazza, the passaggiata, a procession of life as that has been practiced for nearly a millennium. Imagine yourself part of this ritual, and sharing it with townspeople who embrace you as one of their own. Imagine ….. the sea? Walking among the vineyards and olive trees….
It's more than taking time to smell the flowers, it's opening oneself up to the deep time, the drift time that expands the mindscape and revitalizes a creative life.
Join me on this adventure. Let the history resonate with you. I have no doubt that this two weeks of touring, individual time to work and reflect, togetherness and solitude, fun, food and daily adventures, will fill your soul, caress your senses and inspire your mind in the way that it has mine.
Citrino's work echoes symbols from much older image myths - the Etruscan, the pagan Celtic, the long-ago-lost. Ralph Stanley, the American singer-songwriter, talks about how he had to call back to the ancient keening, the high pitched wail that is no longer sweet but makes you shiver. Rachel Citrino also calls back to a deeper place.
Marks of her scratching are on the canvases. Beyond the first layer, these markings add a dimension reminding us that the image is never complete. Creating and collecting fragments - organic material, discarded detritus, digital images - she presents us with a piece of a puzzle, holds it up to the light, imagines a whole. It is the digging, the sifting through, that creates the aesthetic tension in her work. The process of uncovering is her deepest subject.
Citrino paints memory maps and practices a wild and joyful archeology. Only an artist who is so confidently alive can dig the earth and sift through memory shards with such feral certainty. As Citrino herself once said, "I want to use words that don't exist yet so in the meantime, I make visual art".
My relationship with clay is one of deep infatuation if not surrendered love. The seduction in 1997 has grown into an affair that has married my painting and sculpture with the flirtatious and fickle qualities of clay. In fact those are the very dysfunctional qualities I adore about clay…not its craftiness or its ability to fool one into believing it is something else but its precariousness in the working and its manifest surprises in the product. Clay teaches us lessens about our own fabricated existence; reminds us that control is not always possible or even always beautiful and its sense of adventure is always renewing.
Combined with other earth elements such as metal, clay becomes philosophical.
Just as a landscape painter does not necessarily live…abide….have a house and home on the very land and within the very scenic vista she depicts on her canvas so any artist in any medium using any material, words or performance does not live within that world verbatim of the images she presents and subsequently puts in your mind. She is merely a conduit for what comes through her to you, the viewer, in any given temporal moment.
This is the nature of art and the artist.
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