A Survey Exhibition Exploring Transparency in The Paintings of Italian Artist Salvatore Emblema At David Richard Gallery, September 12, 2014

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Salvatore Emblema was singularly focused on transparency in painting through explorations of color and light and their interaction on the surface of the painting and with the viewer. Equally important to Emblema was the physicality and materiality of his supports and medium as he applied pigments, soil and ash to raw jute and burlap, which had an open woven structure that allowed light to penetrate the support and bounce off the wall, illuminating the painting from behind.

David Richard Gallery, Salvatore Emblema

"Untitled" 0307, 1976, Tinted de-threaded burlap, 78.75" x 59"

David Richard Gallery will present a survey of paintings by Salvatore Emblema (1929-2006) that were produced from 1965 through 2005 in the gallery’s first solo exhibition for the artist. Emblema focused on color and light to explore transparency in painting. “Transparency: Color and Light” will be presented September 12 - October 18, 2014 with an opening reception on Friday, September 12 from 5:00 - 7:00 PM. A fully illustrated on-line catalogue will accompany the exhibition. The gallery is located at 544 South Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501, phone 505-983-9555 in the Santa Fe Railyard Arts District.

Salvatore Emblema was concerned with color and light in painting and their mutual interaction with the painting support and impact on the viewer. To achieve that experience, he used pure color and reductive compositions. But just as important was the physicality and materiality of the paintings, resulting from his preference for using sackcloth and raw jute with a very open weave for his supports and raw pigment, soil and ash as his medium. Whether the pigment was applied as a stain to the jute or thick and impasto, the open woven structure of the supports allowed light to pass through the pigment and support and bounce back, illuminating the paintings from behind. Later, he started removing threads of jute to further open the support and allow more light to penetrate the painting.

His fascination with natural and earthy, non-conventional materials for art making partly stemmed from growing up on the slope of Vesuvius overlooking Pompeii. But, it also came from the influence of Jean DuBuffet in the early 1950s with his use of natural materials to create the well-known gritty and coarsely textured paintings. Emblema was also aware of Lucio Fontana and Alberto Burri, with both the materiality and literalness of their work and how they challenged painting and the conventional picture plane. Emblema met Mark Rothko while in New York on a Rockefeller grant in the mid-1950s. He was intrigued by Rothko’s interest in the metaphysical qualities of color and the idea of the viewer being enveloped by the painting through their unique perception and engagement with the canvas. This combination of early encounters and diverse influences culminated in Emblema’s decision to focus on the perception of transparency in painting as a lifelong endeavor, despite ever-changing and evolving art genre and fashionable trends in art.

Emblema had more than 57 solo exhibitions of his artwork since 1954 in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Brazil and the US and his work included in numerous group exhibitions. His artwork is included in many international private collections and in permanent collections of many museums around the world including Musei Vaticani, Roma (Italy), Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze (Italia), Metropolitan Museum, New York (U.S.), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (U.S.), Boijmans Museum, Rotterdam (NL), Ludwig Museum, Koblenz (DE), Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara (Italia), Università Normale, Pisa (Italia), Mac, Universidade de Sao Paulo do Brasil (BR), Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro (BR), Museo de la Secreteria de Hacienda y Credito Publico, Ciudad de Mexico (MEX) and Museo del 9cento Castel Sant’Elmo, Napoli (Italia).

David Richard Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in Santa Fe, specializes in post-war abstract art including Abstract Expressionism, Color Field, geometric and hard-edge painting, Op Art, Pop Art, Minimalism, Feminism and Conceptualism in a variety of media. Featuring both historic and contemporary artwork, the gallery represents many established artists who were part of important art historical movements and tendencies that occurred during the 1950s through the 1980s on both the east and west coasts. The gallery also represents artist estates, emerging artists and offers secondary market works.

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