I set up two easels facing each other. White painting overalls, 8"x10" canvases and black and white paint are provided. I paint a portrait of the participant while the participant paints a portrait of me. At the end we exchange them. As of now I have about 90 portraits of my self.
Mettiamoci una croce sopra
This work was realized in collaboration with artist and designer Alessandro Gorla. The installation used recycled materials and free association, referencing religion. We also included a participatory element where people could share their sadness in the tears of an invisible presence — Jesus? Mary? The participants?
This participatory installation was created with a series of sculptural works aesthetically influenced by Arte Povera, minimalist sculpture and Eva Hesse, but made with foods created through a process of "cultural" fermentation. I made goat cheese, fermented ginger beer, and wild sourdough yest bread and offered it to the public.
I created this work in collaboration with my father. I painted an idea of his while he painted an idea of mine. My father had never painted before. We recorded the process on a video and presented our preliminary studies along with wall text and the final paintings.
Although I took a formal approach, the RGMBW series is first and foremost an emotional response to moving to New York. It is almost a romantic group of works. Shortly after moving, I got a day job as a software trainer in midtown Manhattan. I had to commute everyday to Grand Central Station, and it was the mass movements of individuals, the flows of people that really inspired the first RGBMW paintings. I used all-over, grid-based patterns opting for a very strict five color scheme that I lifted from a photo in a fashion magazine. I kept the works very neat and task-oriented as a stabilizing, almost spiritual approach. I tried to make them as close to computer-made as I could, in part as a reflection of my observation of the relationship between humans and computers. In this attempt to be computer-like, the most interesting thing is the tension between the perfection/imperfection of the human hand.
New Commons of imagination
These works are the outcome of my learning experience with the methodologies and meanings of Thangka painting in Kathmandu, Nepal. To produce them I formed Piero Passacantando Studio with professional Thangka painters Sherab Tamang, Dawa Tamang of Dharmadhatu Foundation (an NGO devoted to using the arts and crafts as a tool for social justice in Nepal) and my wife Clarissa Bynum. These works are not a direct translation of Thangka, but rather a reinterpretation of some of its elements, particularly geometry and color.
In these paintings I am currently exploring the edge between representation and abstraction through experiments with composition, color and pattern. These works are process-driven. During the process I enter into an intimate dialogue with the painting: at times I guide the painting; at other times the painting guides me. Through this dialogue I “carve” out forms. I intentionally leave these forms ambiguous, slippery, constantly receding from becoming something specific.
Throughout the years I have been making hundreds of paintings and drawings of the human face in many different styles, some based on real people some completely imaginary. This is a small selection