Sunday, May 17, 2009
Peppe Butera, Sicilian Abstract Artist, Brings His ‘Cry of Love’ to the United States
This article also appears on our Italian Journal page.
In April 2009, painter Peppe Butera brought his latest exhibition, Urlo d’Amore (Cry of Love) to The Foundry Gallery in New York City and the Westchester Italian Cultural Center in Tuckahoe, New York. Long enamored with the drip painting style of Jackson Pollock and pop-art sensibility of Mimmo Rotella, Butera fuses these elements with the warmth and earthiness of his native Sicily.
Cry of Love may be as close to heartbreak on canvas as we’re likely to see. Butera painted these works from the agony of a great love’s end. It’s all there: confusion, desolation, isolation, the stubborn denial. And also the love that viscerally endures. To experience these works is to somehow take the journey with him, and leaves no doubt of the power of art to communicate beyond the reach of words.
Butera pours his colors onto the canvas using the drip painting technique. With both both acrylic and oil paint, he mixes them with elements found in Nature, like sand from a Sicilian beach. Even his colors evoke the palette of Sicily: the blues of the Mediterranean, the yellows and golds of the sun, reds of terra firma and black from the ashes of Mount Etna.
The passion of his work is best explained by Butera himself: “If I try to tell the reasons of my work, of my life, you won’t hear of much school, rather of the actors of my childhood, my grandfather, my parents, my country. There I was born. I, then, realized, step by step, another way of life, dominated by colors. I began to talk a new alphabet, mine were colored words…There are words coming from your head, these are regular, rational words. They follow time, space, rules. And there are words coming from your heart. They have no time, no space, no rules. They have only colors. They became my voice, my letters, my cry of love and I colored my paintings with them….I have been spending my life to paint for the woman I love. Love is the only reason of my life, the only one able to ‘move the stars’. If you feel something, looking at canvas, you know it depends only on my thought of love.”
I asked him if the act of painting these images calmed the pain in his heart. “A little bit.” he said.
Peppe Butera’s other exhibitions include:
Le Credit Lyonnais, San Tropez (1997)
Omaggio a Pollock, Spazio Cosi’, Vicenza (1998)
Percorsi, Hotel Concordia, Cortina (2002)
La Mia Valle Pirandello e Quasimodo, Museo Archeologico Regionale, Agrigento (2003)
Galleria Maytemuno2, Barcelona (2003)
Per Passione, Ex Ateneo Piazza Duomo, Bergamo (2004)
Cara Amica, Museo Archeologico di Agrigento (2005)