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Italian-Born Painter Marco Casentini Opens "Family Rooms" at Gilman Contemporary
Marco Casentini, Giornate Romane, Acrylic & plexiglass on Canvas, 59 x 55 inches

KETCHUM, ID.- Italian-born painter Marco Casentini presents his first solo exhibition with Gilman Contemporary, but his 50th exhibition worldwide. The exhibition, titled Family Rooms, will run through February.

Casentini's paintings echo urban architecture, natural landscapes and personal environs. Family Rooms explores the more intimate nature of our homes and the emotional nature with which we choose to surround ourselves. Working in his signature geometric shapes, Casentini continues to explore how the environment can be represented soley through color and texture. His paintings are inspired by urban space—by the geometry of its forms and its architecture.

In this group of works, Casentini has incorporated colored plexiglass panels attached to the canvas, adding increased physical dimension to the paintings.

My paintings are inspired by urban space—by the geometry of its forms and its architecture. Our lives are full of geometry. There are a variety of ways to work with these forms. You can use geometric shapes to create rhythms and tensions or quiet and relaxing spaces.

The constant in my work has been the lack of a compositional center. The concept of the center is an important aesthetic issue in the history of Italian and European art. Important examples can be found in the art of the 1400s: the figure of the Madonna or Christ in the center surrounded by figures of saints. Such images have been incorporated into my visual memory since I was young. Probably at first unconsciously, I rejected this use of the center in my own work. My paintings are landscapes seen from a train—no principal figures inside pictures, only geometric forms that could extend outward beyond the canvas.

When I started to paint at age 16 I was a figurative painter. I was inspired by Deutsche Neue Wilden—by artists like Rainer Fetting, Martin Disler and Helmut Middendorf. Even in these early paintings I avoided a focal center. I began to paint fragments of the body, working only in black and white. I worked in this fashion for 10 years until 1993.

I like the reflective surface of plexiglas. I've always been fascinated by large urban buildings whose exteriors are primarily glass. Everything is reflected on their surfaces—like a big plasma tv. I've also painted on steel, aluminum, copper and brass—all materials used in construction. Although the geometric structure is slowly becoming less complex, I complicate my work with areas of plexiglas or with lines. I overlap lines to break up the structure beneath them.

What I enjoy in my work are the continuing changes. I like trying new things, and still experiment with materials and ideas. I hope viewers will find my work a very human abstraction—not a cool abstraction, but an abstraction that begins with emotion.

- The following statement was taken in part from an interview with Marco Casentini featured in Geoform, July 2009 and used here with permission by the artist.

Gilman Contemporary | Marco Casentini | "Family Rooms" |

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