Adrift in the vineyard
Marking the 25th anniversary of Charlottesville’s sister-city relationship with Poggio a Caiano, Italy, Second Street Gallery hosts an exhibit featuring work by artists from both cities. Not a bad idea, especially considering what we get out of the deal. While for the most part the McGuffey stable throws out a few representative pieces (representative of their own work, that is), the Italians shipped over an impressive, integrated exhibit. Speaking for the moment just of the Italian contribution, “The Sea, the Color of Wine” is a collection of work by artists who may have disparate aesthetics, but who all carefully considered how their work might best fit the show’s theme. What they’ve offered constitutes a collective meditation on red wine, its methods of production, its liquidity, and most of all, its deep, rich color.
In fact, the shades of red permeate nearly every work the Italians display, from the blush-colored plexiglass tears in Gabriella Furlani’s “A Sea of Drops” to the dyed red fabric and stained basins of Gaetano Vannucchi’s “Wine Soaked Cloth.” Other works take the vineyard as their subject. Alessio Guazzini’s “2001, In the Sea of Vineyards” is a grid of photographs, all of the same vineyard, suspended from the ceiling and separated from one another by wires. As someone moves behind it, it undulates like the surface of a calm sea. Carlo Capecchi’s “2001, Vineyard at Colle at Sunset,” locates a vineyard in mostly abstract patches and smears of greens, yellows, and reds. Their landscape is partially designated by grooves and scrapes which fade, as they rise, into a orange-red sky.
In all fairness, the exhibit is not quite so one-sided. Emanuele Becheri’s scratchy, black-ink saturated drawings seem less relevant to the exhibit than do the contributions of a few McGuffy-ites who did invest themselves in the idea of this exhibit. Viesturs Osvalds’ blood red and air-bubbled glass slabs and Loes Van Riel’s mixed media works are two of the best examples. They, along with Kathy Craig and Ann Therese Verkerke, have preserved the notion that this exhibit was, at least in part, a considered and collaborative one. Still by final tally, Italians 1, Americans 0.
Il Mare Color del Vino/The Sea, the Color of Wine runs through March 31 at the McGuffey Art Center. 201 Second St. NW.