Curated by: Andrea Busto
The Ettore Fico Museum is pleased to present the first anthological exhibition of the American artist John Torreano.
John Torreano's artistic career begins in a significant way between the end of the fifties and the beginning of the sixties in a post-war climate and in a Western cultural ferment that generates and elaborates important social and economic issues. The unstoppable growth of the American gross domestic product of those years, the Cold War and that of Vietnam, the birth of consumerism but also of well-being, the black revolution of Martin Luther King and that of Kennedy, are the scenarios in which the artist he lives and gives life to his personal poetics. Right from the start his interest is unquestionably turned to painting as a traditional medium and used however according to contemporary aesthetics and techniques. Its expressive key moves in a very free way and makes use of forms and formalisms in vogue at that time. His predominant interests are evident right from the start: space, background and coloristic drafts, subjects without shadow as if suspended and cut out in the void, research on three-dimensionality borrowed from both optical and pop. Furthermore, the painting as a three-dimensional object / form is the basis of a stylistic study that will be a reason for investigation for him until today.
John Torreano arrived in New York in the late 1960s, in a period of explosive creativity where new generations of artists began to propose experimental approaches to both form and content. Their emphasis on new materials, imagining traditional applications, and their vehement rejection of the gestural abstraction that preceded them formed the foundation of Minimalism, a methodology that emphasized geometry, reduced forms, and materiality. A key figure in this generation of artists was Richard Artschwager, and it was a chance encounter with him in 1967 that inspired Torreano to travel to New York City. "At the time I was teaching at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, and Richard was invited as a guest artist. I had never seen his work before, and immediately felt a connection in it. I loved the idea that a painting could also be a sculpture and a drawing at the same time. At that time, everyone I was teaching together would go to the West Coast or the East Coast. I thought that if Richard was in New York, then that was where I wanted to be ”. Landed in New York in 1968, Torreano befriended a circle of artists who shared his enthusiasm and ambition. His first home was a loft at 81 Greene Street in Soho, then the center of New York's art world thanks to the easy availability of large, uncluttered spaces (albeit often pipe-free and with rudimentary heating). “The artists I knew at the time - Ron Gorchov, Bob Grosvenor, David Reed, Bill Jensen, Lynda Benglis, and Jennifer Bartlett - were working on various concepts about what art could be.