Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Civilized Discourse

Giovanni Casadei, One Stem
Giovanni Casadei, One Stem, oil on panel, 7 x 9 in.

There is a light to civilization as well as a darkness. We forget in our critique of empires that what they protect and preserve comes from a sense of the good life.

Giovanni Casadei's beautiful still lives at Gross McCleaf Gallery this month benefit from the artist's sense of civilized life. His Mediterranean sense of cultivation came with him to America. Those who know him know his cooking and his craft approach to all phases of life, his tango, his communal and amicable spirit. These all gather people and friends to him, and the same warmth and passion emanate from the warm light of his paintings, like sunlight from a Florence or Sienna of the spirit.

The great change in these recent paintings come from a stronger admission of darks, of those mortal dangers in life against which he must level stronger impastos of light and color. The dynamic result is as poised and graceful as the artist, making order and calm and enjoyment the heart of life.

Douglas Martenson's landscapes in the neighboring gallery present a well chosen opposite to this. Where Martenson's world is outdoors, autumnal, and cold in temperature, Giovanni's still lives are the warmth of the home. They make a good pair of forces to consider and contemplate.

A highly recommended show.

Painting Arcadia, and Everyday Light
Through December 31, 2014
Gross McCleaf Gallery
127 S 16th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 665-8138

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