VAM 36 | Artist Profile: Raffaele Abbate

Raffaele Abbate, Here There Be Dragons, oil on canvas, 41 x 41 cm

Meet the artists in VAM 36!

Visual Arts Mississauga 36th Annual Juried Show of Fine Arts, at the Art Gallery of Mississauga from January 16 – February 22, received 209 entries from across Ontario. Jurors selected 52 artists to be in the show.

Until the end of the exhibition, the AGM blog will feature VAM 36 artists. Learn about the thinking behind the works in the exhibit, and see the works in person at the AGM!

Name:  Raffaele Abbate
Title of work: Here There Be Dragons

1.      Tell us about your work in VAM 36. Give us an idea of the conceptual framework you used in creating this piece. What inspired it? Why did you choose to use that particular medium? Why that particular perspective, set of colours, subject matter, etc.

The painting “Here There Be Dragons”, is inspired by the Renaissance theme of “St. George slaying the dragon.”  The main protagonist, the shell, is displayed  in such a way to resemble a dragon.  The reddish bookmark is carefully shown to appear as the dragon’s tongue or fire.  Following the classical triangular format, I placed the larger shell in the centre of the composition to give an apparent sense of peace.  However there is a struggle in this painting, seen in the smaller shell, which is under attach and in great danger.  The gold callipers to the right symbolize the pitchforks of the divine, coming to the rescue of humanity. The green books tell the story and represent the earth.

2.      How would you describe your creative process? How has your style changed since you started, and what do you think is the reason behind the change?

I work with oil paints because they are easy to use, give me the most flexibility in terms of colour control, blending and optical effects.

The colours in the painting “Here There be Dragons” were selected using a dominant colour scheme, an analogous and a contrasting complement.  The green books were chosen to contrast the reddish orange colours of the larger shell and the red bookmark.

My working process is of invention, discovery and creation.  Working from nature reveals what I need to know in order to give depth and three dimensionality to the subjects in my work.

3.      If time and money were no object, what artistic project would you like to undertake? What about this project fascinates you, and how do you think it will engage the viewer? 

Beside still life painting, I very much enjoy drawing and painting portraits.  I would like to paint a multi-figure allegorical painting, to tell a story.  My aim is to create a strong emotional viewer response.

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