Kate Oh Gallery and Curator Inhee Iris Moon is proud to present “Narducci” by the late Master Pietro Antonio Narducci (1915-1999) who was one of the most significant artist pioneers of the last half of the twentieth century. It is an honor to be the first gallery in New York to showcase a survey (minuscule in scale but substantial in essence) of his work in many decades. We are pleased to have re-discovered this artist who had been obscured for nearly 70 years due to a convergence of several tragedies he experienced in the mid 1950’s including a private art dealer to whom he had entrusted nearly two hundred paintings suddenly disappearing, never to be seen again, and the loss of his loved ones. It is also necessary to understand that there was a vital refusal to be a part of the business end of the art world. He avowed to focus on the personal search or journey of the art making practice. Narducci chose independence and the purity of work, values that he ardently embraced all of his life, until his death in 1999.
This exhibition premiers 24 paintings and works-on-paper from the 50s, 60s and 80s in diverse styles. The 5 grand scale abstract paintings from the 50s and 60's executed on canvas with oil refer to the transformational shift in his practice from the classical to modern. After graduating from the Leonardo da Vinci Art School in Greenwich Village in 1936 and the Beaux-Art Institute of Design in 1938 studying with Thomas Benton, Isamu Noguchi, Joseph Stella, Onorio Ruotola, and Antonio Piccirilli, Narducci had embraced many different types of American modern art on top of what he already had versed from the European modern artists such as Severini, Kandinsky, Picasso and Chagall. He steered away from figurative paintings in classical style that resonated with the paintings of Da Vinci and Modigliani all together by the end of the 30s and began to experiment with abstraction like his European modernist counterparts. One can see in these vibrant energetic paintings full of colors, rhythms and texture that Narducci wanted to express the primitive and the essential elements and feelings in liberating ways.
Also exhibited are the 18 abstract works-on-paper from the 80s and 1 semi-figurative work from the same era which are countless studies for his epic scale acrylic canvases, a series of "Transcendental Aesthetics" or "Quintessential Aesthetics". As the artist's eldest daughter explained, "He choose ‘quintessential’ because it was a term used to refer to the fifth and highest element in the universe. He felt his work was reaching for that purity of being totally intuitive — and a way of participating in the experience of capturing Nature in the act of creating herself." We also know that he always painted to classical music with his favorite composer being Igor Stravinsky, the most important composer of the 20th century, for breaking all the rubrics of classical music and creating ultramodern music. Narducci's love and admiration for Stravinsky’s music which is often both polytonal and poly-rhythmic influenced him immensely and are reflected in the 16 works on paper. Some of them are provocative and some are calming; some appear mysteriously earthy and some appear as celestial and airy. The rhythmic strokes sometimes evoke primal urges and sometimes cosmic bursts and energy. The works made with pastels are softer and dreamy versions of utopia or dreams in organic geometry and aerodynamic movements; and the ones incorporating sand allude to the ritualistic process of mediumistic practices. All very powerful and stunning in their own ways, Narducci produced works full of gestures of no order but of gut feelings that it is safely believed to state that he delved into the realm of the unconscious and traveled back to the realm of consciousness in total control while executing his transcendental paintings. “Abstract Expressionism was a step in the right direction!” Narducci said referring to the movement. He believed that there were more spiritual elements both savage and sacred in essence that he could explore and add to the genre. We hope you will come and experience the brilliance of Narducci with us.
(Inhee Iris Moon, Curator)