Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Entre el Cielo y la Tierra" - Guest Artist Gennaro García

"Entre el Cielo y la Tierra"
"Between heaven and earth"

"Painting is addictive and therapeutic. 
It is the best way to communicate everything --
the way I feel, the way I think, and what I love.
Oils, acrylics, monoprints, hand carved wood,
plaster techniques learned in Italy, and
a color palette created from a childhood in Mexico.
These are some of the tools that bring to life
a fascination with
old world and religious iconic images."
Gennaro García

This exhibit title expresses
Gennaro's desire to take
two disparate sensations, expectations,
and join them: 
heaven, earth, & the space between.
Unexpected differences;
unexpected similarities.
The space behind, & to the side of,
the Archangel
(a frequent subject of Gennaro's painting)
illustrates both the specific sense of loneliness,
also the idea of A Single Emotion.
Over a decade ago,
Gennaro's mother 'stole'
one of his original paintings,
a Madonna,
which she recently gave back to him.
He's returned to the material source
where he began,
iconic religious themes.
He gathers inspiration wherever he travels,
and he's traveled extensively:
Spain, South America, Africa, Italy,
to name a few of his destinations.
It was a Beautiful Woman who led
Gennaro to paint abstracts. 
She loved them, & 
he wanted to win her heart.
Traveling with His Beauty to New York in 2004,
& after carrying around
an engagement ring
in his pocket for five days,
they visited the Basilica ...
he knew this was the day!
But to Gennaro's astonishment,
a song from his childhood
lifted within the cathedral arches,
a song sung in Spanish --
& he felt such familiarity with the
art inside the church,
the architecture itself,
this music from his youth!
For him, 
everything focused and disappeared
He knew what he now wanted to paint.
Research began immediately.
[I remain uncertain if the proposal
actually did take place that day,
but his Beauty IS now Gennaro's wife!]
The arrival of their daughter
also deeply influences his painting.
The tree of life,
is a celebration of her birth.
The myriad birds
the male presence,
Lush & brilliantly colored
lotus flowers
represent the female presence,
Gennaro's Beauty.
And the sheer abundance of flowers
indicates the birth of a girl,
Frida Sophia.
And yes,
Gennaro confirmed that,
 at 12 weeks,
she is already
in possession of an easel!
Three weeks ago,
when I first personally met Gennaro at the
Phoenix Art Museum Open Paint,
he had just started this canvas.
I noticed then a photograph taped to the easel,
above the canvas.
This is how he always works,
and he has difficulty choosing from among
his hundreds of photographs.
The plastering/texture technique so beautifully
rendered here is the one he
learned in Italy.
The subject is a young lady Gennaro
considers as a daughter.
notice his technique of
leaving her surrounded
by space.
My comment to him was 
that I felt myself drawn in,
pulled nearer,
and ultimately completely
engaged by her eyes. 
Speaking of Eyes:
here is my favorite from the Exhibit.
Gennaro met this woman in
North Africa,
and she spoke perfect Spanish.
he experienced a paradox --
what is 'expected' in/from Africa
versus what it's possible to discover.
In rendering portraits,
his main concern is the quality of the eyes.
Hers halted me.
Found me.
Held me.
And followed me,
wherever I moved.
But I didn't want to move
from her gaze.
And I kept returning.
Because he began in a place
where it was necessary to use
until it couldn't be used anymore,
Gennaro still uses his paintbrushes
until they're nubs.
He considers this to be his only

except ...
He HAS to listen to music!!!
I asked;
I told him it was
the ONLY question 
I wanted to ask for myself.
He said yes;
 I grinned & grinned;
then we traded recommendations.
His: Chambao
Mine:  Jesse Cook
Both:  Sade's new one, Soldier of Love
We also bonded
over our mutual admiration of 
Anthony Bourdain.
Gennaro is a Foodie to the Max --
ultimate dream?
A restaurant gallery!
I volunteered to chop onion.
I asked Gennaro if
he has any advice for
beginning artists,
shy artists,
artists who think they make bad art.
"I grew up under the shadow
of my older brother,
who is an incredible artist,
and I felt it all, 
that I'd never be 'that good',
hearing that voice in my head saying
'You'll never be able to paint.'
But I painted anyway,
and the voice disappeared.
Art has to be expressed,
and the expression dissolves the doubt,
silences the voice.
And, also,
I've come to love 
'the perfection in the imperfection.' "
The Artist,
with my favorite of his paintings.
I have no sufficient words to thank Gennaro,
for his generosity of time & attention,
for being so engaging,
sharing his stories both
personal & creative,
for inviting me to this meeting
in the first place.

Gracias por todo, Gennaro!
4201 North Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ
Exhibit runs through March 8, 2010
Partial Proceeds to benefit Xico, Inc.

Gennaro García
Official Website:  ArteGennaro
Blog:  Arte+Gennaro


  1. Yes, I agree...her eyes hold you captive.

    "Art has to be expressed,
    and the expression dissolves the doubt,
    silences the voice." a statement I need to sit with, marinate in, and remember.

    Thank you, Toni & Gennaro!

  2. Excellent interview! Good job of capturing Gennaro's personality, art and insights. What you didn't mention was expressed visually with what you showed. You're right, the exhibit is mesmerizing.

  3. All the work is tremendous, very interesting Toni. Take care.

  4. How beautiful! What a wonderful tree of life!
    Thanks for posting this great interview

  5. His paintings are just so beautiful - this is much more than I'd expected, coz I'm just in love with his work now.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It's a beautiful article.

  6. Great paintings, great photos and the background information really brings everything to live - very well done.

  7. His work is beautiful. Thank you for the lovely interview.

  8. great writing, you got right to heart of his art which is fantastic. I love the woman in red.

  9. simply GORGEOUS. i love this art. thank you for bringing this to us!!!!

  10. Wonderful interview, Toni!

    His art is beautiful - and *I* share your love of Jesse Cook. ;)

  11. Wow! Great interview...very looking at your art and Pansho's..they're both very different styles but both very unique and original...keep up the great work...found your facebook and saw your work...Gran talento tienen los dos!

    Esmeralda De La Vega


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