VICTOR PESCE - an Interview with Elizabeth Harris by Nika Sheynberg
Opening Reception - Sunday, August 2, 2-4pm
Artist and critic Mario Naves has written of Victor Pesce: "He paints pictures of simple things, but the pictures he paints are not so simple." The subjects of Pesce's still-life paintings are singular object--bottles, vases, boxes, plates. They are set against mottled expanses of color that can represent horizon and surface. His objects occupy space--they sit, they have gravitas, they ask us to stop and look. The paintings are small, but the scale is both intimate and vast. Pesce creates an atmospheric richness that belies the simple geometries of his objects. His objects are subjects, and they walk their own quiet line of abstraction and representation.
[NS] What were Victor Pesce's ideals, and how did they manifest in his work?
[EH] Victor believed in being a painter and was willing to sacrifice career and family to do so. Painting was a calling to him, like being a priest not a profession.
[NS] There seems to be shift in genre in Pesce’s work, from the more abstract paintings in the 1970s and 1980s where you could vividly see the brushstrokes to the more minimalist paintings in the 2000s. What brought about this shift?
[EH] As Victor matured as a painter he put distance between the more abstract and expressionist influences he incurred while as a student. He once said that he got his true education from visiting museums. His painting became more succinct as he painted more freely and struggled less.
[NS] Can you also tell me about the process behind creating the more recent work?
[EH] Victor loved to compose still-life's. It seemed as he got older he became more sparing in his surface coverage. Gone were the more worked thicker surfaces….perhaps from experience he was able to just get it “right”.
[NS] Did Pesce ever consider branching out into any other mediums/genres?
[EH] No, Victor Pesce was a painter...he did make small box like constructions from cardboard that he painted as maquette’s for his still life paintings. These were secondary to his paintings and never meant to be shown.
[NS] Do you think that the New York City artist scene and culture had any influence on Pesce's work?
[EH] The museums in the city were a big influence early on and continued to be throughout his life. Perhaps the artist scene did in his early years as he had many artist friends while he lived in New York, but in 1984 he moved to Sharon, CT where he lived and worked the last 26 years of his life.
[NS] Could you also describe the studio space--the organization, the system, the atmospheric flow?
[EH] Victor’s studio had beautiful natural light by which he painted which was built in 1986. The general appearance was organized chaos like so many artists studios. He was very organized about his palate, wrapping mixed colors in aluminum foil with twisted ends creating forms that resembled salt-water taffy. He worked on a traditional easel and had many tables that were strewn with his “constructed models”. He also had a small daybed near the door to outside where he or the cat sometimes took naps.
Silvermine Arts Center
1037 Silvermine Road
New Canaan, CT 06840
Tuesday – Saturday – 10-4 pm
Closed: Sunday & Monday