"Angelo Garoglio - Catalyst Art", by Dr Slavka Sverakova
The afternoon light hurried towards the dusk, the windows allowed it in with avarice known to man only. Yet - the eye could recognize three shades of white, when Dougal McKenzie started painting a wall at right angle to that which housed Garoglio's work.
It constituted out of five elements, the stud wall into which an indented vertical was made, a painted triangle on the floor, a shape of a shadow of the wall at some time during the day, a coloured photograph of an explosion of light caused by photographing a photograph which was written, scribbled over, and then touched by strong light, and two blue drawings, presenting presences of absent body.
If you recall, five solids and geometrical figures, used to be significant ground for western visual culture, science and geometry. Not surprisingly, Garoglio, directs our attention to forgotten grammar school years, to the periods in western culture, when all was governed by clear recognizable norms. Garoglio is an architect - artist, the construction of spatial relationships being the foremost concern of his. This is visible in the blue discontinued curve coming from between two bodies from the left drawing and joining the "crossroad" in the centre of the middle image. That point is also a point where the diagonals of the wall cross. By slightly stressing the mark this point becomes a hub of the whole composition, demanding asymmetry, not only on the floor, but also in the edges of the supporting sheet.
If in "Available resources" we received Garoglio's "diptych", here, he offers a triptych whose centre is not where the most important image is, but where the geometry of the plane determines it.
Not only Garoglio confirms, what many art historians refute, namely the importance of geometry in painting, in two-dimensional art, he employs it with clarity and poetry.
The two do not seem to go together. Poetry depends on things hidden, unsaid, associated in mind alone. Clarity belongs to mathematics, science, precision made tools etc. Yet - as Tiziano Vecellio before him, Garoglio can join the two in one aesthetic form. A kind of 'sacra conversazione', a type of awareness and unity, preconditioned by multitude. The whole space and the barriers are equally necessary.
Looking at his three oblongs, displayed parallel to each other, invited a memory of Brunelleschi's church interiors, San Lorenzo and San Spirito in particular. I have in mind the structural rationalism. It feels as if a Giovanni da Prato type of attention would unearth the structural logic in Garoglio's work. Remember Prato's 'Paradiso degli Alberti' ? Every sentence starting with "Look carefully at ..." or " Look with minute attention..." ?
In principle, structural rationalism means that the surface forms reflect the way they were made, arrived at, the way they have to be. If taken to an extreme, this strategy is capable of drawing all pleasure out of looking. Consequently, the sensitive artist balanced it with a kind of "cover up" - giving us to see not the stages of making, but the last stage only. Also the removal of outline, a device capable of the very melody equivalent in visual terms, and insertion of a jerky mark, a mark more attuned to tragedy and cutting than to 'aria all antica' and closing of a form. Suddenly the awareness is here, the closed form is robustly denied, denied by unclosed enclosures, incomplete images, fragments of views, the very transience of looking.
Parte di Ritratto ("Section of Portrait") - a double meaning involved in the first word of the title of this work is not an accident, instead, it encourages an adventurous viewer to go on making up variants on the theme given by the author. It is not unlike variations on limited number of notes in the Indian folk music, or in a Ligeti, or, more known, variations in fugue by Bach.
The analogy between Garoglio's two-dimensional work and music is easy to make, the connection to architecture is necessary. In paraphrase of Giovanni Rucellai (Il Zibaldone Quaresimale, c. ,457) I suggest that Garoglio is a man supreme in geometry, in understanding rays of light, in drawing the various stages of process together into a pleasurable aesthetic experience of looking. You will be rewarded by seeing a curve, not immediately apparent, that binds the 'triptych' at about average person's eye level. When perceìved, the work's manifold variations in dark and light, come forward as a chorus after soloists.
In some way, Garoglio, insists on importance of a risk. The strategy is visualised as staggering line, as unfinished volume, as a surface reflecting light that was. The issuing interest in transient values, in transient existences, is perhaps, the most central cognitive aspect of his work. Garoglio does not change his vocabulary - even not the main theme, yet, he does not repeat himself either.
The idea of documenting experience in face of stale assumptions and asserted falsehoods, makes it proper, that some of his work has been made in Northern Ireland. By workìng here, he, and others, become witness to life in this region, similar to that in Torino, different to that formed by TV and newspapers hunger for sensations.
Instead, Garoglio offers something like an evening song, after a day rich in ordinariness, a touch of poetry, given to us by light.Many visual artists use light to similar end, Garoglio, carefully, rehearses the secret meanings of light rays coining through a glass without breaking it, a visual metaphor worked out by many 15th C. artists as a visualisation of hope.
Brunelleschi gave a limp to San Lorenzo by building three steps between the floor and chapels - not only it looks functional, it forges a touch of irony in the utterly classical interior.
Garoglio introduced the interpretation of triptych in an assembly of asymmetry, differences and fragmentary presentation, thus denying the expected central image and two wings. It appears like an irony, but its tone is not accusatory - rather celebratory of the possible variations. That the artist wished to connect the three is clear from the above mentioned curve at eye level - a device which itself is a variant on centric rays in a renaissance painting.
The glory of light on the right reminds me of the Sunday Times images of newly born stars - the latest images from the Hubble. The two earthly compositions of human forms keep loosing their volumes so, that we can hear their whispers.
It is important to this viewer that Garoglio connects several arts together: architecture, drawing, photography, and absent but indicated, the music.
That makes the experience complete.
Dr Slavka Sverakova