Steven Guarnaccia, illustrator and author, opens his first show, “Fatherland,” on Wednesday, April 1, 2015, during the Bologna Book Fair, at Hamelin, Via Zamboni 15, Bologna. The work here began in his sketchbooks that became sculptural pieces during his sabbatical from Parsons three years ago. He has gone through many incarnations as an artist and designer. I asked him to tell us a bit about this latest one.
I categorize these wonderfui sculptures as folkish art, is that apt?
I hope not. Though at times I was inspired by folk art (I’ve carried around for years the memory of an early 20th–century painted baseball bat from the Museum of American Folk Art), some of the work for me also resonates with some Dada pieces.
You know the connotation, what does Fatherland mean from your perspective?
If the past is another country, Fatherland is the place in my own past I went to try to find some connection to my father.
Is this your first show of these pieces?
Yes. Hopefully not the last. I’ll still be making pieces right up until the show opens.
I can see why you used rulers for your adages above but I’m curious why you selected shoes, saws and signs?
My father’s family were shoemakers who emigrated from Sicily to work in the shoe industry around Boston. My father, though by no means a handyman, had the mid-century everyman’s familiarity with basic hand tools. And my brother and I spent many Saturday mornings doing chores with him that involved saws, hammers, axes and screwdrivers. Signs are words made into visual objects, and were a natural means for me to put text into the pieces.
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