NAC Featured Artist: Michael Lombardo – June 8 – July 21, 2012

Exhibition Dates: June 8 – July 21, 2012

Opening Reception: June 8, 2012, 6pm – 10pm

Closing Reception: July 13, 2012, 6pm – 10pm

Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 4pm

MAINSITE Contemporary Art will be closed to the public on the following dates and times…
06/13/2012 – 1:30p-3:00p
06/15/2012 – 11:00a-2:00p
06/16/2012 – ALL DAY
07/04/2012 – ALL DAY
07/20/2012 – 11:00a-2:00p

Michael Lombardo

By Sarah Jesse

This exhibition of Michael Lombardo‘s most recent work focuses primarily on two architectural spaces—his grandmother’s house in Panama and a church he currently uses as a studio in Providence, Rhode Island.  Despite the geographical distance between the sites and their distinct functions, Lombardo emphasizes the link between them in terms of their common physical features and personal meaning. Through this connection, Lombardo explores feelings of nostalgia, the psychology of place, and the unreliability of memory.

Lombardo’s latest paintings of interior spaces represent an important shift in his progression as an artist.  Prior to conceiving this body of work, he focused mostly on representational drawings of figures made from direct observation.  In contrast, the new work is almost completely void of the figure.  Additionally, it signals Lombardo largely transitioning to the process of drawing from memory.

At times, as in the case with the paintings of his grandmother’s home, the memories go all the way back to childhood.  This in part has led to the development of a more expressionist style, in which conveying the psychological impact of the site trumps the aim of portraying an exact replica.  Just as in memory itself, the recollections may not be altogether accurate.  Rather, they reveal the bias of personal significance.

The distortion of memory is particularly at play in Interior IV, which depicts his grandmother’s house.  A large table extends from the front edge of the canvas to the center of the dining room, placing the viewer at the head. On each side, multiple hallways and doors imply the house is larger than it appears.  The rooms are painted bright blue and pink and are otherwise spare, save for a series of portraits on a wall and a statue of the Virgin Mary in an entryway. Clearly, these objects resonate most with the artist given their prominence. Thus, Lombardo suggests that memory is selective, and it remains unresolved how much of the image reflects reality or simply the perceptions of a child.

The church that Lombardo depicts in Interior II has similar physical traits to the house. Numerous doors and pathways make the space seem angular and complex, and the walls are similar colors. Unlike the paintings of the home though, this was made on location, as the church has become Lombardo’s studio.  The similar aesthetic and reference to religion hint at a deeper correlation between the sites that go beyond superficialities.  By associating these spaces, Lombardo calls attention to the capacity of memory to relate discrete spaces that evoke similar feelings.

Oklahoma-born artist Michael Lombardo currently attends the Rhode Island School of Design and is majoring in Painting.