VICTOR PESCE - an Interview with Elizabeth Harris by Nika Sheynberg
Opening Reception - Sunday, August 2, 2-4pm
Artist and critic Mario Naves has written of Victor Pesce: "He paints pictures of simple things, but the pictures he paints are not so simple." The subjects of Pesce's still-life paintings are singular object--bottles, vases, boxes, plates. They are set against mottled expanses of color that can represent horizon and surface. His objects occupy space--they sit, they have gravitas, they ask us to stop and look. The paintings are small, but the scale is both intimate and vast. Pesce creates an atmospheric richness that belies the simple geometries of his objects. His objects are subjects, and they walk their own quiet line of abstraction and representation.
[NS] What were Victor Pesce's ideals, and how did they manifest in his work?
[EH] Victor believed in being a painter and was willing to sacrifice career and family to do so. Painting was a calling to him, like being a priest not a profession.
[EH] As Victor matured as a painter he put distance between the more abstract and expressionist influences he incurred while as a student. He once said that he got his true education from visiting museums. His painting became more succinct as he painted more freely and struggled less.
[NS] Can you also tell me about the process behind creating the more recent work?
[EH] Victor loved to compose still-life's. It seemed as he got older he became more sparing in his surface coverage. Gone were the more worked thicker surfaces….perhaps from experience he was able to just get it “right”.
[EH] No, Victor Pesce was a painter...he did make small box like constructions from cardboard that he painted as maquette’s for his still life paintings. These were secondary to his paintings and never meant to be shown.
[EH] The museums in the city were a big influence early on and continued to be throughout his life. Perhaps the artist scene did in his early years as he had many artist friends while he lived in New York, but in 1984 he moved to Sharon, CT where he lived and worked the last 26 years of his life.
[EH] Victor’s studio had beautiful natural light by which he painted which was built in 1986. The general appearance was organized chaos like so many artists studios. He was very organized about his palate, wrapping mixed colors in aluminum foil with twisted ends creating forms that resembled salt-water taffy. He worked on a traditional easel and had many tables that were strewn with his “constructed models”. He also had a small daybed near the door to outside where he or the cat sometimes took naps.