Art Is Hell
Bart Gazzola sat down to talk with Tony Calzetta, whose decades long practice has been both ‘drawing in paint’, to quote the artist, but also offers the possibility of narrative without the necessity of the same. They talked about Calzetta’s recent exhibition at Niagara Artists Centre (Painting and Other Fantasies) as well as an ongoing project taking his drawing more into the three dimensional sphere. Gazzola and Calzetta have spoken about painting often, over the past few years, with the critic making frequent visits to the artist’s studio in Welland, ON.
Several ideas have intersected with their previous – and this – dialogue: these include Howard Hodgkin’s assertion that “I want my pictures to be things. I want them to be made up of marks that are physically and individually self-sufficient.”
A book Gazzola has borrowed from AIH Studios’ library often, Julian Bell’s What is Painting?: Representation and Modern Art, also offers a good starting point, before listening to this exchange: ‘In other words there was no prior context to the painting itself. The viewer’s eyes would submit, and the painting would act.’
Several artistic endeavours cited in their chat can be explored here. More information about Calzetta’s project with Governer General Award Winning Author Leon Rouke can be enjoyed here, his recent exhibition at NAC is archived here, and a number of videos of the artist speaking about his practice are available from the CCCA artists index. A book work that Calzetta collaborated upon was a past From My Library selection, as well.
They’re sitting in front of Calzetta’s work REALIZING THAT THE DEMOISELLES D’AVIGNON WERE A LITTLE MORE SOCIAL THAN HE THOUGHT, YVES PONDERS THE BLUE AT THE END OF HIS PAINT STICK, 2020.
Over the last 44 years, since receiving his B.F.A. from the University of Windsor and his M.F.A. from York University in Toronto, Tony Calzetta has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He works mainly on canvas and paper and also sometimes in sculpture and printmaking.
He has published three major livres d’artiste; “Acts of Kindness and of Love” in collaboration with writer John Metcalf, and the more recent “How God Talks in His Sleep and Other Fabulous Fictions” and “Peculiar Practices” both with writer Leon Rooke.
Tony Calzetta was elected as a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (R.C.A.) in 2004. In addition to commissioned works he is represented in numerous public, corporate and private collections in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. In 2011, his paintings were exhibited as part of the Padiglione Italia at the 54th International Venice Biennale.
He now lives in Welland, Ontario with artist Gabrielle de Montmollin who is the other half of their art collaboration known as ART IS HELL.
~ Posted by Bart Gazzola