Even though it can take a long (long) time for me to get to them, I do enjoy receiving recommendations about artists I might like from others. I particularly enjoy it when a painter whose work I admire takes the time to write me with a recommendation for a painter that he admires.
Such was the case when Julian Merrow-Smith, whose work I have written about here and here, was kind enough to write and suggest the work of Marc Dalessio, who he had the chance to meet last year in Florence.
Dalessio is a Los Angeles born artist, who lived in Fiji as a child, and for the last 17 years has been living and working in Florence, Italy (or more properly, Firenze – how the English made “Florence” out of “Firenze” I don’t know, but, I digress…).
In addition to pursuing his own painting, Dalessio teaches small workshops in the summer and a course in plein air landscape at the Florence Academy of Art in the Spring. In the winters he takes group painting excursions to places like Kenya, Greece, India, Morocco, and recently, Myanmar.
Dalessio excels at both figurative work and landscapes. As much as I like his strong, classically adept portraits, which simultaneously have both a modern feel and a late 19th Century sensibility, it is his landscapes that capture my attention.
As in his portraits, Dalessio brings both a contemporary sensibility and a strong undercurrent of admiration for classical painters to his landscapes. He seems largely free, however, of accepting the conventions of particular strains of art, rather taking on only their spirit. Subjects that one would expect to find dealt with in a bright palette, a garden in Sicily, St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, are instead approached in muted muted colors on an overcast day.
His viewpoint shifts and searches, restlessly looking for a particular composition, which is seldom the one other artists might choose. There is a unique rhythm to his placement of light and dark areas, curves and geometries that defy the compositional choices one might expect from the subject.
His use of color is understated, carefully controlled and always powerful. Dalessio discusses his supplies and his palette in posts on his web site, part of which serves as a blog, and part of which is a gallery of his work.
There is an interview with Dalessio on Painting Perceptions.
There is currently a show of Dalessio’s work at the Grenning Gallery through June 21, 2009. The gallery also represents him on an ongoing basis.
The Grenning Gallery’s website, much to my mystification, does not seem to list the gallery’s location or give contact information. According to Google, they are apparently at 90 Main St, in Sag harbor, NY. Here is Dalessio’s post on the exhibit, which includes a link to a downloadable PDF catalog of the show.