Pablo Contrisciani: Divine Fragments, Art Districts 2013

Daniela Montana

Pablo Contrisciani, Circle of Life, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 40”x40”. Photo: Mariano Costa Peuser.  All images are courtesy of Arch Gallery.

Pablo Contrisciani, Circle of Life, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 40”x40”. Photo: Mariano Costa Peuser. All images are courtesy of Arch Gallery.

At first glance, Pablo Contrisciani’s artwork is a whimsical abstraction, a celebration of line and shape applied in bold gestural movements, showcasing the entire prism of light. Energetic brushstrokes in incandescent hues place emphasis on the power and vigorous nature of each stroke. Moved by Robert Delaunay and his fixation with color as expression and form, Contrisciani takes the theory further by imbuing his own shapes with life, seeing each as sentient entities reflecting an emotion that varies and develops as it intentionally interacts with others, creating tension while vacillating between harmony and chaos vying for supremacy.

The artist’s evolving exploration of color, structure and dimension, encapsulates his Argentine art heritage where abstraction is intricately tied to Concrete Art and the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (Group for Research in the Visual Arts), or GRAV. This dedicated student of Luis Felipe Noé has also been influenced by Julio Le Parc and Juan Mele, as evidenced by his recent experiments with geometric elements.

The “Divine Fragments” exhibition is a re-conceptualization of Contrisciani’s Gestural Abstraction developed in collaboration with Arch Gallery. Here his examination of energy is re-envisioned within rhomboidal and circular canvases, as well as in a major installation that splinters out from a geometric center into a spiral-inspired by the Fibonacci Sequence, the mathematical formula manifest in all organic matter. In fact, a solitary piece on the periphery contains the nuanced symbol of Phi in tribute to the Golden Ratio.

Contrisciani’s new collection is more elaborate, substantive and less repetitive than that presented in his prior “Synthesis” exhibit. This series is installed with a refreshing use of white or negative space, allowing the eye to rest and pull one forward to appreciate the layers of spiritual depth and intellectual intent. His brushwork is more ample and defused with a syncopated rhythm that allows the undertones to come through. His prior rectangle shaped frames surprisingly give away to potent, new, round pieces, one of which accentuates in bright pink the sensuality of the circle, a feminine symbol that anchors the show. The presentation has a sense of freedom and playfulness that encourages interaction with the spectator. His rhomboidal objects, which liberally flow from the ceiling as if dancing in space, are imbued with florescent paints that morph as they interact with ultraviolet light; it requires the viewer’s curiosity to fully experience its luminosity and unadulterated glee.

The multi-canvassed A Fragmented Glimpse installation treats bare spaces the way Piet Mondrian used black lines to differentiate segments. The oeuvre is “tri-vided” yet each section retains a unique proportional relationship to the whole. Variously sized works contain increasingly broader smears of paint forming shapes vibrating in an array of tonalities and modulations, which the artist envisions as the emotions of individual souls, engaged with their community. While the oeuvre in its entirety consists of separate paintings, replete with color-coded elements that continue onto the neighboring portion, the mode of improvised action painting has the effect of distorting some of the lines creating ambiguity and mystery regarding the missing/blank energy fragments. Individually each artwork serves as a dynamic microcosm which provides a fractured glimpse of the larger puzzle that-agitated by the intensity of the emotion in its confines— pulls apart, in tune to its own choreography.

If the Divine Signature is found throughout all of nature, its stands to reason that we would encounter similar patterns projected across diverse creative disciplines. Perhaps it is our ability to recognize this blueprint that leads one to uncover a Contrisciani painting brought to life in a recent Alvin Ailey performance of Garth Fagan’s From Before. The spirit and gravitational force of unrecognizable objective forms in vivid colors, which glide, leap and cut across distances, independently taking center-stage before suddenly retracting in accordance with the viewer’s perspective and focus, is mesmerizing, yet familiar. Dancers, appear to echo the brushstrokes, as they, too, travel, spin and gyrate in unison with an intense emotional fluidity that distinguishes one from another by the color, speed and precision of their placement-it’s pure Constriciani! How is it that two artists in separate fields, occupying a different space and time, created such passionate synchronized fragments of a strikingly divine design?

Daniela Montana is a curator, writer and Latino arts advocate who was on the founding staff of the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, (MoCHA), a program manager at the Percent for Art Program of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, (DCA) and has served as director of Arch Gallery in both New York and Miami.