Vincent Zambrano Interviews Joseph Gerard Sabatino

Close your eyes, imagine the scent and taste of the cool yet damp stagnant summer air while walking the grounds outdoors in the evening. Recall the seemingly invisible yet actual traces of the viscous and ethereal line-work left behind by a small arachnid awaiting your unexpected disturbance. [Untitled] Mulberry Tree – Resurrected, one of two installations Joseph Gerard Sabatino will have on view simultaneously, aims to converge natural phenomena with industrial realms through use of sweeping line work and materials of domesticity.

In his first solo show at the Paterson Museum, Sabatino’s site specific installation will transform an entire room of a raw space, approximately 1000 square feet. [Untitled] Mulberry Tree – Resurrected will introduce the artist’s interpretation of the full life cycle of the mulberry tree; from the form itself, to the silk worm and how it’s life and unfortunately death constitute the demands of such a beautiful material. The completed configuration will occupy a specific room of the notable Rogers Building in The Paterson Museum. The overall facility contains artifacts and relics pertaining to silk production while housing large scale original looms; acting as a literal backdrop to the work being created on site.

By weaving life size strands of string and rope with the ghostly presence of the museum’s historical past, Sabatino is bound to create a whimsical environment that promises to fuse organic components derived from silk manufacturing’s past, with direct architectural elements of the current space. The installation will make use of various gauges of taut black rope, yarn and silk, spanning towards a multitude of areas while being fixed onto the opposing walls, floor and vaulted ceiling. Similar to the tight lines of an oversized and exaggerated loom, yet extending in chaotically and strategically explosive marks at various angles. Like the routine and effortless duty of a spider’s web that has been compromised, slackened cords will remain anchored and draped to specific points. The entire surrounding will be filled with intersecting, sagging and overlapping outlines; part structural, part drawing and part architectural form hovering in space. Natural pine mulch will also be spread throughout the floor’s entirety; acting as a stark visual and literal cushion to the angular lines within the space, while simultaneously adding to the environment’s overall metamorphosis.

Additionally, large scale works on paper will also be placed throughout, merging the visuals, materials and ideas used within the installation. The never before seen series will consist of mixed media substances that are penetrated and adhered directly to the surface. Each bold rendering will emit raw gestures, emulating loose and spontaneous mark-makings related to the mulberry tree and relevant associations. The variations of charcoal, string and murky graphite, with it’s accompanied layered shadows, all combine to produce a rendering done in actual space rather than on a mere plane.

The Mulberry tree proclaims to be a prominent visual and an emblematic treasure out of many of New Jersey’s and more specifically, Paterson’s historical contributions. As referred to by the artist, “It is just to select a simple form that held so much significance, both physically and symbolically to the Paterson area. The mulberry tree’s local necessity, along with the progression of ingenuity and the race to leading industrialization, combine to sanction the creation of an artist’s rendering of this influential fixture.” Historically a trade based environment, Paterson, NJ – the birthplace of American manufacturing, has helped shape much of Sabatino’s past and present artistic influences; both visually and conceptually.

“Untitled Mulberry Tree – Resurrected,” will not only compliment and honor the unique setting of the Paterson Museum but will take the traditional exposure of a single installation opportunity into a new light. The proposal looks to promote several similarly themed shows around one larger idea, with use of varied exhibition locations and venues. Sabatino is currently in the process of reviewing alternative spaces in New York City, as well as it’s surrounding boroughs and seeks to discover the proper venue in Italy, to capitalize on this cross continental mini survey.




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