What a beguiling world it is, this place of alchemical transformations and mystical experiences. Adepts from the ancient world through the modern have sought the life-changing powers such secrets could bestow. Dating back to ancient Egypt, arising from the ashes of the Middle Ages, and continuing to our present day, study of these strange and profound processes continues. What Varriano does, which is so compelling, is he gives these processes material form.
Varriano has been fascinated with mythological motifs, deep stirrings from the unconscious mind, and humankind’s continuous evolution, from the time he was a child. The human mind can be laid open and bare to reveal the most exciting and unusual motifs. It’s as though humans have a built in connection with the divine and a transcendental desire to reach toward the heavens. How we get there, seems to be particular to each person, period, and culture.
Exploring the artist’s painting, “Magi,” one is not quite sure whether they have stumbled upon some secret and revelatory visual text from long ago, or if they are witnessing the eternal forms that bubble up in new formations throughout the millennia.
“Magi,” begs us to look and to question, what is within and without. Undoubtedly, this questioning was one of the artist’s goals when creating this exceptional piece. The modernity of the painting, makes it that much more exciting. The mystical quality of Magi results from Varriano’s use of interlocking shapes, geometric patterns, bold colors and dynamic lines.
Varriano has a way with color that excites and subdues simultaneously. He uses color the way gifted writers use their words to draw the viewer in and communicate a profound message. We find deep blue’s serving as the foundation upon which brilliant warm colors dance. In particular, the red and orange colors are rich and varied. The white shapes appear to vibrate against the dark background.
The artist has cast a spell with spiraling lines and swirling shapes that are reminiscent of the alchemist’s apothecary, with its powerful potions, and magical charms. We can imagine a long-bearded Merlin conjuring up winds of change and transformation.
Varriano shared that while creating this work he desired the effect of in-laid crusted jewels. He achieved this result by mixing oil paints with egg yolks to form an emulsion. This old and time-tested technique seemed appropriate for such a work of art. Varriano used a palette knife to lay the paint on the canvas thickly, which seems to add to the vibrating movement the work.
Speaking with the artist, we get a sense that he is fascinated with the various chemical combinations he used to achieve his desired results. Over the years, Varriano has experimented with numerous combinations of mixtures containing oils, spirits, varnishes, and resins. Along with chemicals, Varriano is an adept at restructuring architectural elements to suit his artistic direction. One such element is the volute of a classical ionic capital, which is a prominent feature of the painting, and one that Varriano crafts into a modern alchemical movement.
Like all of Varriano’s abstract paintings, Magi is a painting that is very much alive with elements that mingle, communicate, and combine to create something entirely new. To learn more about John Varriano and is art visit www.johnvarriano-americanartist.com