Big Little #122, 2018 (Striped abstract painting with vertical bands of color)
12" X 12"
acrylic, pigmented plaster, and wax on wood panel
Sides of the panel are painted a solid color so no frame is required.
Vincent Pomilio is a master when it comes to color composition. His abstractions on canvas and panel come to life with the most brilliant, yet unexpected color combinations. This painting, entitled Big Little 122, was made with mixed media including colorful pigmented plaster and acrylic paint. Bands of bright color in shades of indigo, blue, teal, and aqua with accents of burgundy are applied in a vertical striped pattern across the panel. The surface is then burnished to reveal exciting colors in the layers underneath. The fragmentation might lead one to believe that it is a collage, but it is actually many layers of built up medium.
About the artist:
Vincent Pomilio specializes in all painting media, canvas, paper and wooden panel. A visit to his studio in the bustling neighborhood of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village offers a unique insight into the artist’s process of his own art making. The right brain dominates here; skillful use of color, shape, line and scale are discovered via intuition, experimentation and quarter turns of the canvas. Pomilio has occupied this bohemian artist’s pad since his school days ended at New York University in 1978 and it is here that he continues to paint to this day. Abstractions of color explosions are harmoniously composed using a combination of acrylic, wax, pigmented plaster and marble dust to build up surfaces and introduce texture. “In the end, the challenge is to know when to stop,” says Pomilio. The result is a stunningly complex and layered composition of color that one could interpret as an aerial landscape view or motifs that resemble woven baskets. When it comes to abstractions, the artist rationalizes, “If you see it, it is there.” At one point in his career, Pomilio felt he was struggling to successfully produce small paintings using the scaled patterns that was common in his work. This prompted a new series - the Big-Little series – which encompasses a study of big images on a small scale. By introducing a degree of ‘minimalism’ he could explore color relationships while magnifying techniques used on larger canvases. The effect this project had on his work flow was one of renewed energy and confidence. He could complete a painting much quicker than with the larger canvases, allowing him to try various solutions and expel creative energy in a focused way. Earlier this year, he completed the 100th 12 x 12 inch painting in the series. This exhibit will feature #100 (as well as #99 and #98), highlighting other selections from this series in addition to select medium and larger paintings on canvas.
-Essay by Kevin D. Murphy-
Archaeology seems the most apt metaphor for Vincent Pomilio’s procedure as an artist. Like an archaeologist, he begins with a grid and uses that structure to guide his process of discovery. As primordial as many of the forms he paints and draws seem to be, Pomilio is actually engaging in archaeology of the present, the recent past, and his own personal history. Pomilio says that his paintings “start like Abstract Expressionism” then “get like needlepoint.” He begins with a broadly-painted grid, which he subsequently obliterates as he superimposes on it a multitude of carefully drawn and painted elements, tiny in scale and each one a miniature world of its own. While from a distance the grid provides a structure for many of his works—never visible, although apparent—up close each section of a painting like “Anything More or Less” takes on a unique character in the larger assemblage. Every passage in the painting has its own logic, its special aesthetic. It’s as though the artist has excavated each section of the grid, to reveal a fragment of something larger. But here the archaeological metaphor perhaps ceases to be so useful, for Pomilio’s process does not seem solely reductive. It is also additive. Even though he does not actually collage elements onto the canvas, he builds up layers of paint as he obscures the grid below, and carefully creates patches of color (like a skilled needle worker) which seem to sit on the painting’s surface.
The fact that Vincent Pomilio can liken his works to both gestural paintings and needlework at the same time reveals both the breadth and depth of his sources of inspiration. He talks about textiles, fashion, and architecture as important influences. In all of those fields, the best works are those in which creativity works within an overall format that’s given at the outset. Thus a great textile designer produces yard goods (for instance) that can be accommodated on a standard loom, a creative fashion designer invents new ways of treating the conventional elements of a man’s or woman’s wardrobe, and an outstanding architect fits his building to the grid of the city. Pomilio is, in fact, inspired by the warp and weft of the city’s streets, filled with façades that are themselves grids of walls and openings, constructed of networks of concrete and brick. Pomilio’s paintings respond to the smallest intertwinings of materials at the same time that they gesture to the larger framework of the street grid of Manhattan, where he works.