Mario Romano is an Artist who lives and works in Liverpool, NY, and teaches Drawing at the State University of New York at Oswego. The show includes two different modes of his paintings: Landscapes and abstractions. His abstractions allow him to have a more internal conversation about what goes on in his studio. The landscapes are direct observations from plein air painting at his family’s camp in DeRuyter, NY. Both styles are about observing.
I chose to be a painter in Upstate New York because of its landscape. The change of the seasons are filled with transient color schemes. Light changes constantly as clouds pass and shadows are cast. I feel connected when I am outside painting. I also feel connected to its rich history. We have a pond at camp where I sit and paint the lily pads. I can’t help but think about Monet. The lily pads are always shifting and the mucky pond water (although beautiful in its earth tones) shifts constantly. You could never guess when a fish is going to jump out of the water and make a splash, it surprises me every time. When I was in Graduate School at the Art Institute of Chicago I had the opportunity to look through a sketchbook filled with Cezanne’s Watercolors. It was a pivotal moment in my life as an Artist. The sketchbook was a window into his life. A place for him to record his observations and seek clarity through composing color and brushstrokes. It gave me permission to throw color around and deal with it.
The abstractions represent many things for me. It’s a formal conversation at face value, but the process of making the paintings are based off of smaller line drawings and value studies, or parts of other drawings that are then translated into paintings. I create my own source material so the paintings feel more autobiographical. Play is a big factor when making the abstractions. It keeps me loose and flexible so a painting can develop over time. It also allows me to be surprised, like when I am painting at the pond and a fish smacks the top of the water. Essentially, I become more engaged with the work. Each painting goes through a rigorous process of change and form invention until I achieve the desired feel. I consider the finished paintings to be more like conversations; which is probably why they all look so different. One painting may be about line while another is about shape. The simple imagery is not so simple and often takes weeks or months to develop. The studio is where these paintings come from and they start by observing the way simple line drawings or watercolors interact with each other.