Full Artist's statement
ARTIST STATEMENT & LETTERS OF REFERENCE
After practicing architecture for more than 25 years I turned to a new medium in the early 1990's. I now create art with paint on panels, mixed medium works & sculpture using found and donated objects and digital art. The images are uncommon, yet suggest the familiar forms of nature. Although the paintings are varied in color and composition, each image is part of a logical yet highly intuitive progression of work.
Each work begins as an adventure and its identity becomes as valid and important as the next, with the medium playing a most important role in the discovery of solutions. Originating in the subliminal, each work is a fresh encounter with the lush, unpredictable medium. The alchemy of powdered metal
My artistic vocabulary is devoid of obvious symbols and messages, I do not intend to tell a story or render a recognizable form. For me, the process of creating is a meditative exercise. Though the images are generated spontanously, reoccuring themes of movement and form can be found. The paintings relate only to each other, each providing clues to interpret the next. This is their power. In contrast, my three dimensional works will at times possess a sense of content or a relationship to historical themes, though only in an abstract sense.
I work under various, self-imposed constraints, sometimes I limit my palette to black and white or to metallic pigments. This economy of means is not simply the principle of 'less is more?, I relish restrictions as a challenge to more fully explore each image, to search for the maximum effect.
As I paint, I am preoccupied with the fluidity of the paint and the resulting density, and also the spacial concerns that are important in the creation of an illusion. I work with the reflective quality of the medium, creating many transparent layers which suggest great depths of space. I fashion complex layerings of many small areas of color in order to dissolve any central focus or subject matter.
LETTERS OF REFERENCE
SAM GILLIAM artist:
"It has been interesting for me to see Joel D'Orazio work his way into painting from architecture. He is working the magic of color into glass. His real success is just a matter of time - Joel is on the right track The dynamism of his architecture makes sense in the glass behind his paintings. Joel has a twin brother who lives in New York, an artist, who is his alter ego. His progress now depends on intensity and concentration....I think this city will be richly rewarded by encouraging such fine talent."
J.W. MAHONEY, Artist & art writer:
"I am writing to you in support of Joel D'Orazio's application for a D.C. Commission Grant. One of the most demanding issues for artists emerging into maturity after the 1980's has been the development of a necessarily individualized set of aesthetic values in the face of a nearly unlimited range of aesthetic possibilities open to artists now. Joel D'Orazio's deeply original approach to the processes, strategies, and potentials for meaning in abstract painting continues to provide new discoveries and fresh experiences for his viewers, and the quality of his work is fully deserving of your funding. As Washington's Cerresponding Editor for Art in America, and a Contributing Editor for The New Art Examiner, I have seen a great deal of Washington art in the last 15 years, and I would place Joel D'Orazio's work amoung the most innovative that I have known here."
DR. LOUIS A. ZONA, Director of the Butler Institute of American Art:
"I have know Joel for nearly 15 years and have followed his career with great interest and enthusiasm. Joel in my professional judgement is an artist of extrodinary ability who is destined to make a significant cortribution to our visual arts heritage. In 1996, The butler Institute of American Art orgaized a show of Joel's recent work which I felt presented an artist whose creative energies seem to know no bounds. The exhibition was an enomous success receiving numerous positive reviews from the art critics in Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. I believ that the appeal of D'Orazio's workis based upon his wonderful technical facility which coupled with outstanding concepts makes for an art that extends the rich traditions of America's 20th century abstraction. He is a serious and dedicated artist who continually pushes the boundaries which have defined Post War non-objective painting In short, I simply could not recommend an artist more enthusiatically. Joel D'Orazio would utilize the support of your foundation to its greatest advantage and would ultimately, I believe, push forward with work that is both energetic and capable of helping to move American art to its next level."
ANDREA POLLAN, curator:
"I have followed the work of Joel D'Orazio for four years. During this period, I have observed his experimentation with an astonishing array of media. In his paintings, wall assemblages and sculpture, Joel takes risks with new materials and structures. his background as an acclaimed architect nourishes many of his compositional ideas. the paintings reveal his ability to allow chance and process to play a major role in the development of an abstract pictorial idea. Some are vibrant and jazzy while others are ethereal and subtle. Occasional obsessiveness yields quirky works that are covered with unusual materials such as metal shavings; he transforms this humble material into a poetic skin that covers the surface of a painting, concealing and revealing what is underneath. These more eccentric two-dimensional works bridge the paintings and assemblages.
The sculptures display his facination with urban structures. The tabletop 'citiscapes' show multiple approaches to scale, relationships and medaphor. These sculptural tableaux are filled with amusing, mutant or lyrical narratives. Another interesting area of Joel's sculptural pursuit is spheres of varying size that he fabricates by combining everyday materials. These spheres look like retro satellites full of menacing wit. Joel is serious
in his artistic pursuits. He recently had another successful exhibition at the american Institute of Architects. A D.C. Commission individual Fellowship would allow him to continue his promising career as a fine artist. I recommand him strongly for this grant."