exhibition slideshow
Urban Fossil

John Tuccillo

Cast Paper Artifacts

On View
March 22 - MAY 3, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008
7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

John Tuccillo finds inspiration for his sculpture at his feet! Paying tribute to natural and industrial forms residing in the urban landscape, from the detailed metalwork of sewer grates, manhole covers and time shifted concrete, to organic inclusions of tree stumps, roots and rock, Tuccillo creates a 21st century museum of artifacts, painstakingly recreated in paper pulp. He begins by making a urethane mold directly off of the street, then casts the mold in archival paper. A skilled painter, the artist uses acrylic paint and trompe l'oeil techniques to replicate the rust of stained cement and the gritty tar of asphalt to interpret and celebrate the look of the original site. Thirty of Tuccillo's "paper artifacts" in various sizes will be on view at phd gallery March 22 through May 3, 2008 with an opening reception on Saturday, March 22nd at 7:00 p.m.

The artist focuses on manhole covers, sewer grates, and other elements of a manipulated environment, as primary subjects for his creative work, as both personally expressive motifs, and as contemporary artifacts, both functional and decrepit. He has also been interested in the tradition of landscape painting, and to some extent, his work is a contemporary extension of that tradition, as they originate from a specific site within the greater landscape. As highly illusionistic works, his paintings are often mistaken for "ready-made" pieces; ordinary objects that are appropriated by the artist from their functional context and presented as-is, in the gallery environment. His intent is precisely the opposite. Through the materials and process, he re-creating the world around him, faithfully approximating the appearance of the subject rendered, and taking care to blur the distinction between art and reality as much as possible.

"In general terms, I have come to understand my work as a peculiar type of realism, which plays on various levels of pictorial and sculptural illusion," says Tuccillo. "I consider myself a painter, and much of my work can be described as shallow relief painting that is entrenched in representation of the subject. As my work has evolved, I have become increasingly aware of the sculptural quality of a painting as a physical object, and have addressed this awareness in my working method. This style of realism serves my longtime desire to consider cultural artifacts, both contemporary and historic, as subjects for my art."

Tuccillo is a Kansas City native who currently resides in Peoria, Illinois where he is an Associate Professor of Art and Chair at Illinois Central College. He received his M.A. and MFA from The University of New Mexico in Albuqurque.

Also opening Saturday, March 22:

Works on view include painting, ceramic, photography, and mixed media by Joe Chesla, Rebecca Eilering, Leslie Holt, Ken Konchel, David Lancaster, Metra Mitchell, Jeff Palmer, Stan Trampe, Rebecca Trawick, David Wallace, and Lin Xu.

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