Vincent Stracquadanio

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Mithraeums were meeting places for members of an ancient Roman mystery cult dedicated to a Persian deity named Mithras. Not much is known about the theology or rites of this cult, as the members did not write anything down in order to keep their cult a secret. To encounter one of these Mithraeums is to confront a ruin on two levels. The first and most immediate is the ruined physical structure, a building that is incomplete and fragmented.  The second and subtler is a ruined visual language. To the contemporary viewer, we are forced to see these spaces with almost a dream-logic.  You could make connections or associations with the images before you and trust that there still lingers narrative cohesion, but the true understating is just beyond your fingers’ tips.

The near homonym between Myth and Mithraeum shouldn’t be missed in this case, what is known of the cult is gained from the visual culture that these cult members left behind.  The existing Mithraeums throughout Europe and the Middle East all share the same visual cues in their frescos such as a man in a floppy hat sacrificing a bull, a man being born from a large bolder, and a series of zodiac symbols connecting the physical location to a larger cosmic plane.  The same images and figures repeat in all these places and in their repetition they reveal their significance, but not their meaning.

It is in this liminal space of a visual language in ruins and its dream-logic that I make my work.  I not only find this space in the free-formed story telling as described in a Mithraeum, but also in the fantastical story structure of the films of Fellini or David Lynch, the clever fables of Italo Calvino, and the buildings of architect Carlo Scarpa.  My paintings and drawings are filled with forms both invented and referential, and are arranged to resemble architectural spaces that echo the mystery of a Mithraeum or the inventive painted spaces and excess found in a baroque interior. I use my own biography as a resource for the patterns or forms that I use. This grounds the work within my own bodily experience. The colors and patterns I use come from my experience growing up Italian-American: vibrant ceramics with rich colors and pulsating shapes from Sicily, the fig trees in my parent’s back yard in Queens, the didactic paintings inside the neighborhood’s Catholic church, and a pizza box from a local pizzeria in New Haven where I received my MFA at Yale School of Art.

My work is full of potentiality and agency, not the thoroughly obtuse sense of the hermetic and inaccessible.  My paintings are filled with a multitude of images that create expressive pictorial sentences or phrases.  Seeing the same figure or pattern repeated between the distinct spaces within a single canvas or between canvases are these sentences striving to take poetic form.  In building this porous space I allow for a more emotional narrative to build, without the tranquilizing effect of a fully knowing of what one is seeing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDUCATION

2017 MFA, Yale University School of Art 2011 BA Visual Arts, Fordham University

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS:

2017

YALEPAINTINGMFA 2017, New Release, New York, NY
Paris, Texas, Artspace, New Haven, CT
CODA: Yale MFA Painting & Printmaking Thesis Show, Green Hall Gallery, New Haven, CT

2016

Esoteric Rodeo, Green Hall Gallery, New Haven, CT
YaleMFAAuction, Field Projects, New York, NY

2015

The Gates Are Open, Green Hall Gallery, New Haven, CT
Tanabata, Public Address Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Type Indicators, ArtHelix, Brooklyn, NY

2014

Subject Matters, Ildiko Butler Gallery, New York, NY
Small Works, Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Rare Forms, Calico, Brooklyn, NY
Postcards From the Edge, Luhring Augustine, New York, NY

2013

Calicornucopia 2, Calico, Brooklyn, NY
Year Three, Fowler Arts Collective, Brooklyn, NY
Winter Show, Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Small Works, Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
The Print Exchange, Blackburn 20/20, New York, NY
Postcards From the Edge, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, NY

2012

Calicornucopia, Calico, Brooklyn, NY
Year Two, Fowler Arts Collective, Brooklyn, NY
RBPMW2012 Member Show, Blackburn 20/20, New York, NY

2011

Memory Palaces, Fordham University Center Gallery, New York, NY

AWARDS

Yale School of Art Gamblin Paint Award
James Storey Memorial Visual Arts Award

INSTRUCTOR POSITIONS / LECTURES:

Adjunct Professor, Fordham University, 2017
Teachers Assistant, Yale University School of Art, 2016 – 2017
Wurtele Gallery Teacher, Yale University Art Gallery, 2015 – 2017
Bushwick Art Crit Group, Artist Lecture at Brooklyn Fire Proof, 2014