Client: Montclair Art Museum
Location: Montclair, NJ, United States
Completion date: 2020
Montclair Art Museum
Intertwining bullet shells and other unconventional objects (color pencils, neckties, books, plastic and garden tools, electric wires, etc.) to create beautiful nature-related sculptures and paintings and an immersive walk-in environment is the object of the exhibition “Animalia” commissioned by the Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey (FEBRUARY 8, 2020-JANUARY 3, 2021). More than 60 pieces on exhibition to experience the breadth and depth of my work, such as Plastic Coral Reef, comprised of hundreds of pieces of plastic waste, carefully cut and arranged to raise awareness of the effects of pollution on marine ecosystems worldwide. I am a visionary artist creating haunting mixed-media paintings and sculptures. My brightly-colored landscapes and life-sized animal sculptures represent my conviction that destruction and death can be turned into peace and beauty. By connecting objects in such fresh ways, I reflect on Nature’s pivotal presence and in the process, I go full circle and give back to Nature what was taken from her: as trees are turned into books, I turn books into trees, leather shoes into animals, while the use of bullets and cartridges to bring a fox or a rabbit back to life illustrates dramatically the brutal annihilation of wildlife all around our planet.
The goal of the exhibition is to raise awareness on the need to protect the environment, which has been a constant in my work during my entire career. My art engages, surprises, and inspires my viewers and makes them reflect on environmental issues. As a recurrent intention in my work, I encourage the viewer to discover, beyond the sole function of an object, an underlying symbolic and aesthetic reality where life overcomes death and beauty supplants destruction. Humor, beauty, and love are essentially what remain the memory of the viewer. My freestanding sculptures and bas-relief paintings entirely composed of bullet shells play with juxtaposition between whimsical subject matter, animals or landscapes that are full of life, and a historically emblematic and lethal medium. Behind each bullet shell, which I buy from a metal recycling company, is a sad tale. I want to create beauty out of these accumulations of ugly stories. Whatever the interpretation of my works, my intention is to protect Nature.
I have been working closely with all stakeholders involved, with on-site visits and frequent contacts with the museum staff. My team and myself cooperated under my supervision to create the final installation.
The exhibition has broken previous attendance records and has been extended beyond the original end date.