Painting landscapes is a risky undertaking. For those who say that “painting is dead”, landscape, as one of the most traditional genres, surely must be even more “dead”. How can a contemporary artist make landscape his/her own?
Giacomo Picca's works contain the archetypes -- tree, mountain, horizon -- and the formalities -- composition, texture -- expected from the tradition; but the methods employed are unexpected. For one, his canvases are not all white, gessoed, stretched fabric, some are sheets of plywood, with the surface left unpainted/ungessoed to form the ground.
Some of the works don't even have a ground: “Trees for the Wood 2002” are wooden trees 2 metres high, carved out so they stand as their own silhouettes.
There is the sensual application of paint, but there is also the gouging out of the plywood.
The choice of materials and the methods are at the heart of Picca's work. He uses plywood because it points directly to wood, thus to trees. The work “Trees for the Wood 2002” turns an old saying around, with the irony that the trees are made from wood. Knowing that Picca is Brazilian-born, one wonders whether he means to comment on his native land's export of wood? But going back to his technique, cutting into the plywood is a way to explore the material and to make a comparison with the traditional canvas.
For the show, some of the works are hung on the walls, but others stand in the middle of the room so that the space of the gallery becomes their canvas. In affect, we have installed a “landscape” within the gallery.
Landscape isn't “dead” for us. It is alive through the address with new materials and the interaction with its environment.
Open Exhibition Programme as a .pdf document: "Installing Landscapes".
Open Press Release as a .pdf document:"Press Release".