Artist’s Statement

Guy Danella, artist, in 1961The Utica-Clinton art community of the late 1930s and 1940s was still alive and vital with “American Scene” painting. Important American painters in our area – Palmer, Penney, Parker, Christiana and Trovato – had a powerful, stimulating influence on local artists and art students to compose pictures about their personally-observed environments.

Peyton Bosswell’s American art “naissance” was still taking place here, but, the doctrines of European modernists would soon eclipse it. This was felt with the arrival of Oskar Weisbuch to the MWPI School of Art. It was through his influence and teachings that I became an advocate of Cubist, Weimar and DeStijl esthetics and European modern art in general. I went on to study with Hans Hofmann and Josef Albers.

By the end of the 1950s, however, when the entire art world seemed to have turned to abstraction, I lost interest in it. Consequently, …[my art] shows an abrupt change from abstract to figurative painting. The fact is, I only stopped painting abstractions. Figurative work, portraiture and illustration have always been a large part of my production.

The pieces selected…are representative of my least commercial, most personal work of the past half-century. For the most part they were not meant to be expressions of beauty, reflections of the environment or attempts to establish an esthetic. They are simply pictures of thought…an honorable old tradition.

In the fourteenth century, Cennino Cennini wrote, “this is an art known as painting, which requires both imagination and the work of the hand…making what does not exist appear to exist” and “…the painter is given liberty to compose a figure, standing or sitting, or half man and half horse, as he pleases, according to his imagination.”

Why not take advantage of that liberty?

Guy Danella, 1990