Pete Croatto: Artist Profile
Guy Ciarcia's life, constantly evolving
Artist Guy Ciarcia has had a couple of what-might-have-been moments. Both happened years and years ago.
While working on a group project in Harlem, he swept a backyard’s garbage into a towering mound. Later, a payload of gray gravel was spread around the refuse. “It’s a conceptual piece,” Ciarcia joked to a colleague. A few days later, Ciarcia learned that his artistic cleanup skills had attracted the interest of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which wanted to talk about a show.
Ciarcia dismissed the invitation.
A lifelong piano player, Ciarcia was discovered by singer Connie Francis and was a signed contract away from some sort of musical glory, but he hemmed. He hawed. The contract men told him to take a hike.
Who’s sorry now?
Ciarcia, 71, tells you these stories from a giant L-shaped couch in a 3,000-square-foot studio space better suited to store airplanes than artistic works, both in-progress and completed, from a career lasting more than 50 years. A sliver of that creative output is now at the galleries in the New Hope Arts Center, which is hosting “I’ll Explain All This Later – Works By Guy Ciarcia.”
The studio – Ciarcia admits he’s afraid to splash paint in here – is part of the 10,500-square-foot house he designed and shares with his partner, Anna-Maria Ciccone-Wein, in Ringoes, N,J. Standing in the middle of 34 bucolic acres, the residence unfolds like the centerfold in a geometry textbook upon your first encounter. It looks like two funkified scalene triangles linked by a massive rectangle flipped on its end.
Possessions make a life, fine. So does freedom of choice – and chance. “To me, if you don’t include chance you’re making everybody else’s art. It’s the only way I can get something personal going,” Ciarcia said.
Name it and he has done it: painting, murals, photography, sculpture, jewelry. Ciarcia even made the tiles in the bathroom and etched the glasses in the kitchen.
“I work in series, but I do work in small series: 10 to 15 pieces,” said Ciarcia. “Eventually, I find there’s no point in extending it further than what I’m interested in.”
Disregarding supply and demand has led to great success. He has received grants from the Museum of Modern Art and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. His work has been exhibited in such venues as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, and Princeton University Museum.
The New Hope show features three groups of work from Ciarcia’s career: abstract digital drawings (based on one photograph), Ciarcia’s trademark stamp paintings, and photography featuring nude models posing in a velvet box.
Digital drawing is Ciarcia’s latest passion but he is okay with whatever the next turn is. Sure, “my life didn’t work out like all my other artist friends’,” he said, “but I look at their work and they’re still doing the same thing because that’s what they’re known for and they’re vested in it.”
The New Hope Arts Center is located at 2 Stockton Avenue in New Hope Borough. “I’ll Explain All This Later—Works By Guy Ciarcia” runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday to Sunday, through Jan. 31.
Copyright ©2014 Bucks County Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.