Urban Digressions: Artist Statement

I'll be at Bavia Arts to meet and greet people, and possibly even present my exhibition there, on Sunday, March 28, 3:30 pm. If you're in Toronto that day, come by for a visit.

Here's the artist statement for the show:

Urban Digressions - Artist Statement

Running and standing still at once
is the whole truth […]
Steady the wrist, steady the eye;
paint this rhythm, not this thing.

- "Painting a Mountain Stream," Howard Nemerov

I have a love-hate relationship with the city. On the one hand I dislike how it forces me to speed up, how it bombards me with fortuitous information and makes it difficult to think deeply for unbroken periods of time, how it makes it hard to connect with people and create sustainable community, and how over time it can compromise my emotional health.

On the other hand, the city intensifies experience and opens its arms to the world in unique ways. Its layers of architecture, shifting neighbourhoods, and demographics literally throw history in your face. It mixes up cultures and styles and from this generates new ideas, art, and forms of justice. For these reasons I also have a profound respect for the city.

The paintings in this exhibit are an attempt to cope with and come to terms with the urban context. They are not a condemnation or a celebration of it, but a reflection of its unresolved grey nature in me.

I have aimed to transmit the concepts, feelings, and atmospheres that only painting—and not electronic devices or other forms of art—can communicate. The work is subjective but not happenstance. I felt it out but also thought it out. Each piece left me exhausted at the end.

The drips, washes, and other liberating gestures I have incorporated are both aesthetic and metaphors for instability and release. The collage, similarly, gives depth and interest but also represents the "data smog" of the city and our increasingly overwhelmed, fragmented forms of understanding. I have played with warm and cool colours, representation and abstraction, not only to pull the viewer in but create a tension of chaos and control, a jazz-like syncopation. I wanted everything to feel locked in a tense balance.

Ivano Stocco splits his time between his birthplace, Guelph, Ontario, and Valencia, Spain. He studied History at York University in Toronto and Education at the University of Toronto, OISE, and has lived and worked in Spain, England, and Venezuela, as well as travelled throughout the Middle East.

Though artistic since very young, Ivano only began to paint seriously in 2005 when he participated in his first plein air painting contest in Spain. Since then he has won numerous painting awards in Canada and Spain and has exhibited three times individually and many more times collectively.

At the moment, Ivano works out of a studio in the Ward neighbourhood of Guelph. As well as being a painter, he is a father, translator, and writer.