Abstraction with Reference

This past Wednesday the ISI Florence architecture program was delighted to welcome Andrew Smaldone to hold a lecture on his work. Andrew talked about the struggles in finding a style as an artist. He discovered that the drive to his creative process is not to define the style but allow what is already there to guide him. He called this technique ‘staying faithful to unoriginality’. Smaldone focused his speech on how to think as an artist and suggested breaking things down in order to truly understand them. “Abstraction with Reference” is the breaking down of a certain place or thing and coming to understand it. This phrase can be used to describe Smaldone’s work. As a spectator, you may not clearly see what you are looking for when viewing his abstract art, but what is important is the feeling he is trying to get across. Andrew always paints with reference to something, whether it is the very place where his work is being created or a photograph of an old studio space.

He concluded the lecture with the idea of sensibility connected to context. Especially as designers, we must always be aware and take note of our surroundings. Although Smaldone’s paintings might be silent in the form of abstraction, the pieces speak volumes when one understands where they come from. We wish to thank Andrew Smaldone for coming to ISI Florence and giving us these words of advice: “The next time you are walking the streets of Florence, challenge yourself to see art in everyday life”.

Natalia Colasurdo and Sara Sterchak
Marywood University