The work in Vincent Romaniello's exhibit DEEP poses an interesting juxtaposition of earthy, intimate paintings in a rather rarified space. Up through May 18, 2008 at the Philadelphia Art Alliance satellite gallery space at the Rittenhouse Hotel, the work, which is from Romaniello's new group of paintings, the Furrow series, hangs among polished marble walls and floors in a public space outside the hotel's spa and salon and adjacent to a residential wing.
Using gesso combined with dried pigments, ground charcoal, sand, and other materials, Romaniello uses a hand-made, rake-like tool to draw along the still-wet surface, to create three-dimensional effects, or as he refers to them, furrows.
The most direct reference is of the earth seen while flying over land, capturing visions of fields that have been plowed or worked for planting. Viewing the paintings with their cinder-like texture also brings to mind the idea of the "scorched earth." However universal these concepts might be, and however process-oriented these works might be, the pieces are at the same time imbued with a sense of humanness--the hand is very much present, and Romaniello also makes a much more emotional, personal statement with Father's Garden (below).
One final thought about the concept of furrows that resonates for me is the "furrowed brow" of one deep in thought. While this is likely not among Romaniello's intended references, the more I thought about and looked at the work and the word furrow, the more the idea stayed with me.
Follow this link to view the catalog of the exhibition written by Vittorio Colaizzi. and to find more information on the work.
Follow this link to view Vincent Romaniello's website.