Michael Pittari

Artist and LVC Professor Michael Pittari “Re-Visioning the Pastoral Landscape”


The Monster that DevoursDr. Michael Pittari recently displayed his work in a group exhibition, “Nature Satisfies By Its Loveliness: Contemporary Landscape Paintings Celebrating the Hudson River School” at Kenise Barnes Fine Art in Larchmont, N.Y. The four digital landscape prints, which draw from the rich tradition of the Hudson River School, are both a form of art-historical inquiry and an expansion of technology-based imagery.

Pittari’s prints are based on the repetition and mirroring of specific 19th century American landscape paintings.  Those works were founded on strategies of surveying, mapping, and ordering the wilderness, and display an idealized, determinist vision of civilization in the making – a visually pleasing form of the political doctrine of Manifest Destiny.  Pittari’s manipulation of those images leads to the creation of strange new forms that reinforce the messages of the source paintings from which his own work arises. He chose the work of well-known artists from the Hudson River School such as Thomas Cole and Frederic Church because the visual familiarity of their landscapes gives viewers an opportunity to contemplate the implications of the landscape as a cultural signifier. By exploiting the formal majesty of the original landscape paintings, the prints re-vise the powerful optical gaze inherent in American landscape painting of the 19th century.

Michael PittariLike many artists, Pittari uses art history as source material for his concepts and images. In this case, the investigation of 19th century American landscape that inspired his work served as the actual starting point for the digital prints. While unique, Pittari’s prints participate in a long tradition of visual artists appropriating the work and/or ideas of their predecessors as a way to comment on art history itself.

Pittari, who has worked as an artist for 20 years, explained the role of these prints, “In terms of media, the prints fall outside the realm of conventional boundaries such as painting, photography, or printmaking, although my approach utilizes aspects of these disciplines...The common thread in my work has been the importance of intellectual discourse, often originating in texts outside the field of art (for example, literature or philosophy). My work’s formal properties are almost always balanced by conceptual investigation.”ork’s formal properties are almost always balanced by conceptual by conceptual investigation.”

More images of his work can be found on his website: www.michaelpittari.com

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