Mariano Baino is an award-winning film director and screenwriter hailed as “one of the great torch-bearers for expressionistic genre cinema” by Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival, where his film DARK WATERS won the Prix Du Public (Audience Prize). He's also the recipient of the prestigious Vincent Price Award for Outstanding Contribution to Fantastic Cinema and many other accolades.
His work has been described as an “unholy hybrid of Bergman and Argento" by Film Review and prized for its “lofty aspirations and little sense of conformity” by Sight and Sound, while being compared to Bergman's for its somber atmosphere and depth of religious meditation.
Using drawing as a means of expression (and as a way to create alternative realities) is something Mariano Baino has been doing since early childhood, and something he continues to explore parallel to, and in conjunction with, his film work.
“I like creating alternative realities,” Baino says. “I enjoy inventing worlds that don't exist or that, maybe, exist only in the shadows between worlds. Shadows that hide secrets bigger than we are meant to comprehend and truths too terrifying to contemplate.”
As Gordon Wyler, co-curator of Mariano Baino's solo exhibition CYPHERS AND FLAMES, notes, “his process, with its use of the destructive power of fire and water as an integral part of the artistic creation, is at once sophisticated and enthusiastically child-like. His recreations of pages from lost books, treated to resemble pages rescued from the flames of the Inquisition, show a desertion of the confinements of genre painting and horror illustration. His work transcends traditional fantasy art and bridges the gap between commercial illustration, prop-making, and fine art .”
"A film director", Mariano says, "attempts to control the uncontrollable. While you're making a movie, you're continuously trying to control a million disparate elements. I have come to the realization that I try and recreate the same experience when I draw. I draw in a very controlled way. And then I start the "controlled" burning process... but you cannot really control fire totally. But I enjoy the attempt to control such a primal element and make it part of the artistic creation."
Mariano Baino’s artwork and photos have been used in films, music videos, books and CD covers. His distinctive drawings and digital-art creations, have been exhibited in Italy and the UK. The exhibition CYPHERS AND FLAMES (February - March 2011) marks the first time Mariano Baino’s artwork is on show in New York City.