About Joseph Piccillo
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My roots in painting began as primarily a landscape representational watercolorist, so I think that part of me remains in the work. As I matured as an artist I moved to abstraction, first using oils and then acrylics, initially the work was quite textural and done with palette knife. Color and line interested me and I let the process lead me and I see myself as a color field painter.
A few years ago, I was asked to do a show in Sicily where I live for part of the year. Being in a small town in the mountains of central Sicily, I wasn't able to find the materials I needed to do the larger scale abstracts, so I decided to paint small, representational work and while working, I found that the principles I was using in the abstracts I was also applying to the watercolors and simultaneously simplifying as I went. It was a kind of reducing the image to the essential while I wanted the viewer to see what I saw, I also wanted the viewer to find the universal in the painting on their own. I wasn't reporting what I saw. I was saying this is how it appears to me and these paintings weren't answers but rather questions.
The show was made up of about 30 works in vignette-style watercolor depicting ordinary life in this tiny town. The question I was asking was, “Do I get it?” “Do I understand Sicily and the Sicilian?” Coming back to the U.S., this concept of reducing the work to the essential became the genesis for my current paintings.