After spending Spring break 2012 in Sicily as part of a travel & art class at University of Hartford, I came back to the United States ready to make artwork about what struck me most during my time abroad. I am extremely proud of these three paintings. They can be viewed larger in the color illustration gallery.
My work is about the relationship between the Island of Sicily and the inhabitants that have shaped and changed the face of the island overtime in order to live, grow, and worship there. Sicily is a land of abundant natural beauty that spills over the hills and cliffs in the form of brightly colored volcanic stone and sedimentation, and densely textured, luscious foliage that springs from the fertile soil. With so much potential in the ground, the Island has passed through the hands of many cultures over the millennia, all of which have shaped and tamed the Island to fit their needs without ever covering up the Island’s natural beauty.
In other parts of the modern world, the United States included, too much is done to pave over nature and replace it with sterile modern comforts. In these places the dialogue with the earth is lost. In Sicily, they use the earth without ever losing sight of it, and there is a respect for the permanence, strength, and life-giving qualities of stone. It is the delicate influence of man over nature that produces some of the most beautiful sites on the island, where man attempts to manicure the land’s raw potential, and turn it into something that will feed his stomach, nourish his soul, and shield him from the elements.
This series of watercolors is a depiction of those three basic and universal human needs which are met through collaboration with the earth. The pursuit to feed oneself and ones family is seen in the farms and orchards that blanket the volcanic hills which make this growth possible. The quest to live comfortably, shielded from the wind, rain, and cold can be seen in the stone apartments that rise out of the ground. The need to worship and feel apart of a community is literally carved from the Island in the form of temples that span the ages.
The physical earth of Sicily is a connective tissue that links and satisfies all of man’s needs; it links individuals to communities, past to present, and mortals to their gods. When all aspects of life are tied together through a connection to the earth, that is when life is most beautiful, and it is a feeling that I would like to remember.