I love art in unexpected places. Last night, I was working late grading projects and printing handouts. It seems like as soon as I wake up, my to-do list occupies me until I realize that it is 10:30pm. Where does the day go? I left the campus wondering what happened to my day. I hadn’t even made the phone calls I was supposed to make in the afternoon! The last thing on my mind was art. I was mentally scolding myself for not accomplishing more. Of course my train of thought was broken when I glanced across the street and saw this painting.
The red foreground and dancing shapes were just too tempting. I had to walk over and take a better look. What a spectacular choice to decorate this lobby. The red is such a nice contrast to the green marble walls. And the white shapes were so graphic and curvilinear, it seemed that they moving as I walked towards them. Once inside the lobby, I thought the shapes comprised some sort of animal. At first I saw a whale. Then an elephant. Then a rhinoceros. That’s what I love about abstract art – what you see depends on what you’re looking for.
I kept looking, and noticed tiny, whispering lines across the canvas. It made me think of music. Then I started to notice multi-hued drip marks all around the canvas. Action painting always makes me think of a rhythm, too. The people in the photo above were talking about how they saw a guitar in the center, and the whispering lines were it’s strings.
The work is by American artist Caio Fonseca. From the signage, it looks like the work is untitled. Fonseca was born in New York and has a studio on Fifth Street. He also has a studio in Pietrasanta, Italy.
Fonseca’s website doesn’t mention much about what inspires him. But if I had to take a guess, it would be music! Everything about the painting reminds me of music – reading it, listening to it, creating it.
The lines remind me of reading sheet music. The splatters of paint make me think of a rhythmical application, and the colors sort of harmonize together. I listened to a great interview. Fonseca talks about how he applies the paint. He lays down color and then subtracts it by layering white on top. He also adds wax with pigment and smears it around the surface. He explains that he likes abstraction, and that he likes to create scratches and lines on the surface to connect the shapes around the canvas to one another. He said that these lines are “sort of like phrase marks in music“.
Fonseca also goes on to compare abstract art to music. (!!!!!!!!!) He says that you can listen to music, and don’t ask what it means. You allow yourself to experience the music, to allow it to make you feel something. That is how we should experience art, too.
I really recommend seeing this painting in person. It’s on 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenue in the Brookfield building. The interview with Fonseca is also worth watching – he’s so interesting!
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