Ronald J. Onorato

  • Italo Scanga

    Italo Scanga. The name itself conjures up the Mediterranean peninsula. Not the cool, radical chic of the Milanese north, but the starker realities rooted in the age-worn landscape of the Calabrian Sila Massif. But Scanga’s works are anything but worn and barren. They reflect his career during the 1970s, and simultaneously provide this writer with a critical dilemma—intense reaction coupled with a disinclination to put it into words, resisting the necessarily deadening effect that any explanation engenders. To deal with such a powerful attraction is, however, to come close to what Scanga’s work

  • Robert Cumming

    The imagery of Robert Cumming’s photographs is wit, but his true subject matter is perception; Cumming has defined a special space, within which he creates his imagery. It is the area between the extant world and our perceptions of it, between being and seeing that most interests this young California artist.

    By building objects, creating situations or constructing illusions and then taking photographs of the results, he exerts total control over the world he presents to his audience. Cumming depends on habitual clues, typical references and almost universal sets of standards for photographic

  • Richard Calabro

    In a recent installation at the Tyler School of Art on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Richard Calabro created a work reflecting many ideas and concerns that have occupied him over the better part of the past decade. Con le belle maniere is performance, sculpture and installation, but extends the boundaries of each even though it was specifically planned for a large, tripartite display case in one of the campus buildings.

    The piece juxtaposes simple elements in new contexts. Glasswax is used to compromise the transparency of the windows on both sides of the cases. Light still enters the cases and

  • John Willenbecher

    John Willenbecher’s recent exhibition at the University of Massachusetts marked a clear turning point in his career, away from familiar elements toward newer, more distilled themes. As one of the earliest artists to adopt the fertile motif of the labyrinth in the late 1960s, Willenbecher developed it fully through formal, metaphorical and environmental manifestations during the first half of this decade. The Amherst show mapped out different paths and demonstrated that the artist had already begun to explore them by 1975.

    In a large show at the Everson Museum a few years ago, this development

  • Alan Sonfist

    In a recent installation Alan Sonfist gathered some 20 pieces, all employing found organic objects or natural processes in their conception. This collection, or Autobiography, as the artist calls it, shows Sonfist working in and around the two worlds of nature and art. This is a consistent aspect of Sonfist’s work; inconsequential yet familiar bits of nature intentionally presented in an artful context.

    Some of the works in the Boston show literally do just that—his Gene Enclosures documents a sector of a forest for posterity with a grid pattern of photographs as well as a display, like so many

  • Richard Fleischner

    Richard Fleischner’s most recent work, in Providence, R.I., is impressive in its material presence alone—several tons of pink and gray granite composed to indicate the schematic basis of what might be considered a prototypical house. Although a crane was necessary to move the granite units to his chosen site, a small island in a wooded park setting, Fleischner as always works delicately and carefully with the natural surface. Here, the subtle yet definitive effort of the finished project is inseparable from the beauty of its context.

    The island is only reachable via a short, arching bridge, which

  • Dennis Oppenheim and Marjorie Keller

    In his newest piece, I Shot the Sheriff, Dennis Oppenheim manipulates a limited number of components—a spotlight, a shotgun, a large, transparent piece of plastic cut into a star-shaped sheriff’s badge, the gallery itself and a continuously played background tape of the refrain from the pop song “I Shot the Sheriff.” As in so many of Oppenheim’s most successful works, he uses combinations of familiar and novel elements, common objects in unusual contexts, juxtapositions frivolous yet complexly metaphoric. Oppenheim focuses on several issues, some of which have concerned him before, by relating,