“Pillars” di John Turriano alla Birmingham Hill Gallery

John Turriano was a working-class kid at Flint Community College in the 1950s who was planning a pre-law or was looking to get into the General Motors Institute.

But his grades weren’t great, and none of those dreams were going to be successful.

Then he took a drawing course from artist Richard Devore and the flakes fell out of his eyes.

“I had one of those demonstrations,” Torino said from her home in Sage Harbor, New York. “You mean you can do it? Be an artist? “

This led him to the Cranbrook Academy of Art in the early 1960s, then to the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, and a successful career in abstract art in Manhattan.

Some of Turin’s latest works are on display at “John Torreano: Columns 2015-2020” at Birmingham Hill Gallery, until January 15th.

Few words are more appropriate for these “Fred” pieces. Torreano’s unique curved pillars are often painted in bright, strong colors and studded with acrylic “precious stones” that capture and reflect light.

You could be forgiven for thinking that they could be some kind of religious totem pole, if these icons had the rich hues the artist uses.

Indeed, there is a mystical and cheerful quality to these wall-hung constructions, each several feet high.

For his part, Torriano has always loved the relationship they have with the viewer.

He said: “They democratize the idea of ​​painting”. Instead of the artist drawing a “window” in which there is only one view, the reflections of the gems set in these columns change and change, depending on where you are.

There is an element, if you like, of audience participation.

Torino said: “If you were here, you would have a strong reflection of a gem, but move to the left, and it would disappear and these two would light up.”

There is a great demand for work in Torreano right now. He currently attended Turin, Italy and Boulder, Colorado.

The artist says his time in Cranbrook was delightful, even though he felt like a fish out of water.

“There was a steep learning curve, intellectually and culturally. I come from a lower middle class family in Flint. But then, ”he said,“ she goes to Cranbrook and talks to a woman from Virginia who is worried about her horse. ”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.