My visit to the Triton Museum, Salvatore Pecoraro and Santa Cruz: Form and Decomposition.
On a Sunday afternoon, I decided to make a stroll to the Triton Museum, which is located very close to my home in Santa Clara. In this warm summer weather, with a full belly of brunch, it seemed only proper and appropriate to visit the museum, and see what could be there. In the past, I have seen many great exhibitions and shows, and I have always been impressed—the curatorial skill of the art directors there is quite amazing. Yet, it was today that I was “blow away” and deeply inspired by the works of Salvatore Pecoraro hanging and standing on the white mounts.
Each piece had depth and color—in that, no painting was ever truly a flat canvas with paint, but was created with boards of wood layered on each other, with each board painted a deep color which harmonized with its other pieces in the work. It looked a little bit Mondrian in 3D. But the colors of the work were not black and white with a splash of color—no, they were textured and organic in nature. A blue section would have many tones of blue, and these tones would reflect and become more intense in other sections. And in some sections, the painting was cracking, decomposing, and seemed old and tattered. It was gorgeous!
As I walked more through the gallery, I found his earlier work, which had graphic design, and seemed to very much attract itself to geometric formations, and mathematical curvature and perfect basic shape. Half of a cone here, a block there, a square there, and a curve there, with graph paper like design etched in glass…some materials seemed used, some seemed new, and some seemed a little in between. It was as if natural organic substances and structures had reached their mathematical and geometric perfection. Again, it was gorgeous.
I learned later, in reading his book on display, that he was from Santa Cruz, California—and that he also made wine, and lived on one of the ranches in the hills that I so very much visited in my own youth. It was then that I realized my attachment to this gallery was because of the catharsis in aesthetics of the Santa Cruz-ean in us. It was about the waves of the pacific ocean, the natural bridges created by mother nature, the forest and greens, the wrecked ships, the old harbor and wharfs, beaches and shells, and sunrises and glorious sunsets. It was about Form and Decomposition.
When I say form, I intend to convey ideas, diversity, and differentiations of Geometric Form. Parabolas, Triangles, Squares, Vectors, Circles, Rectangles, Cubes, Cones, Wave Functions, and anything else most children learned in high school geometry through trigonometry classes. This is one of the main aspects of Santa Cruz Art, or, what I think of when I see art from Santa Cruz…. The other is Decomposition. I would say decomposition is similar to deconstruction, but I think deconstruction is active, while decomposition is a little more passive, organic. Decomposition allows for the human, natural spirit to exist, something that is random, “ugly” and chaotic. Like the cracking of the earth under the hot sun after it ha been soaked in water. Perhaps decomposition is a run down warehouse of over 50 years of abuse and lack of maintenance—its beauty is in its ugly. It is the shoreline filled with drift wood, and dead animals or seaweed, against the backdrop of sea-foam and sandstone carving by the waves of the ocean on a sunny low tide morning. And, it is the combination of these Form and Decomposition that make me sense the arts of home.
In Santa Cruz, because one is in such a lush landscape, one tends to let the spirit jump out and live—letting it Decompose. This is not to say, decompose and die—but degrade, molt, compost, and become soil, become nutrients, transform, transcend, and become something else, something more, recycling. Capturing this cycle is the art of decomposition. It is not still life, but an appreciation and recognition of life, its diversity, its messy, its ugly, its profound. This, all of it, all of this decomposition, is contained and focused using form. Lines, outlines, boarder, and weights are placed in space and on canvas, and from these structure, light, color, and asymmetry commence from the decomposition. This is the beauty of the sunset, the decomposition of the day, in a perfect waveform of the horizon, contained in the circular sight of our optic orbs, eyes.
Yes. I was inspired by this show because it showed to me my own dance work, and my own center. I love form, empty form, because I can fill it with all my crazy drama, fierceness, blood, flesh, emotion, thoughts, lines, and passion. I can showcase beauty, if there is a form to hold it. The balance of Form and Spirit in my work is key to my creativity.
It is from there that I realized, yes, Voguing, Ballet, Modern Dance, and Danza Azteca, are a means to an ends, to my decolonization, to my Mitote. Mitote, born out of me, is also born out of Santa Cruz, California. It has that natural feel, but hard geometric love. So to Salvatore Pecoraro, thank you for your work. It was exquisite!