Mario Alberico

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LJ's Spiking Dendrites and Uniform Synapses, 2008 Oil Mixed Media 48" X 60" © Mario Alberico, Gallery 119
LJ Veiled and Screened, 2009 Mixed Media On Paper 9" X 12" © Mario Alberico, Gallery 119
Quick Facts
mixed-media, installation, modern, studio-lofts, non-profit, gallery, conceptual
Mr. Alberico is a recognized artist and graduate of the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana where he earned a BA in Art History. In 1977, Mr. Alberico was diagnosed with a rare and fatal form of bone cancer, Ewing's Sarcoma. One of nine children in close knit Italian family; he was 17 and just beginning his senior year of high school. During the two years that he underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment under the care of Dr. Edward Baum of Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital, painting became a creative outlet to capture the emotional experience of a life with cancer. The experimental treatment for his disease resulted in a spiritual catharsis that led to a numinous experience while painting called "Contemplation" - a sublime state of interior union with God.

During the act of making art, Mr. Alberico explores his faith while capturing the essence of trees and crosses as metaphors for his life as a cancer survivor. He believes that the aesthetic experience must engage the viewer in a dialogue that leads from an initial aesthetic response to a deeper understanding of the power of art to heal one's suffering and ultimately celebrate the gifts and beauties of life.
He works in a post-modern style reminiscent of the New York School and his subject matter is captured in oil on canvas; mixed media on canvas and wood panels; and hand-rubbed wood etched prints using graphite, chalk and charcoal on paper.

His paintings have been shown in various venues, including The Union at the University of Illinois, The Italian American Art Exhibition, and Bensen Galleries, The American Cancer Society, Arlington Heights Artists on Display at the Heritage Gallery, First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights, non-profit institutions and numerous private collections. He is a frequent speaker for the American Cancer Society and Children's Memorial Hospital and donates pieces of his work to raise money for cancer research and spiritual education. In 2001 his painting, the "Tree of Hope," was created at the Arlington Park Relay for Life. It became the centerpiece for the American Cancer Society's Annual Gala, "Harvesting Hope for Cancer" and was auctioned to raise money for childhood leukemia research at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. In 2002 and 2003, his painting "Ginosko" and limited edition prints of his reflections on the "Stations of the Cross" were auctioned at the St. Josaphat Unity Ball and raised money for the spiritual education of children.

In 2004 he became a board member of Willow House, a social service organization dedicated to helping children, teens, families and communities who are coping with death and dying.

In 2005 he was commissioned by St Mary's Episcopal Church in Park Ridge, IL to make a Stations of the Cross for Lent, 2006. The exhibit, called Stations of the Cross 2006 - It was Just an Old Fashioned Lynching deals with the concept that Jesus of Nazareth was simply lynched by a mob 2000 years ago and we continue to crucify Christ to this day with hate - in words, in actions and in non-action.

In 2006 he founded the not-for-profit organization Foundation 119 to help alleviate the suffering of the poor, the oppressed, the orphaned, the widowed and the afflicted. All proceeds from his business and virtual Gallery 119, Inc. go to fund Foundation 119.

In 2007 he was selected to exhibit his work at "Around the Coyote" in Chicago and at the "Chicago Art Open" that is part of the Chicago Artists' Coalition. Also, as a result of his taking a vow of non-violence, Mr. Alberico has begun to make "It Was Just and Old Fashioned Lynching, Part II." This exhibit will be a socioeconomic statement about war and other forms of violence that cause havoc, heart ache, and centuries of revenge.

In 2008, Mr. Alberico began a series of brightly colored, lyrical, yet dark paintings, with the presence of a character named LJ. The oil and mixed media series of paintings deal with the drama and complexities of the mind and mental illness. These paintings mark the beginning of his pursuit of a new aesthetic called Desolation Row - The Morrison Aesthetic of Attraction and Repulsion. These paintings were debuted April and May of 2008 in Chicago, IL as part of Artropolis "The Artist Project" and Looptopia  "The Spring 2008 Around the Coyote Festival."

He is also undertaking an ambitious installation project entitled Where Do Guys Like Us Get Guns? - The Stone Altars of the Daimon focused on helping people understand the impact of suicide (and depression) to enable the victims' loved ones to find healing in the aftermath of such tragedy. Hopefully the artworks will help to educate our society to be more open to recognize and deal with this hidden epidemic.

Mr. Alberico is a member of the Chicago Artists' Coalition and Around the Coyote. He resides with his wife and three children in Arlington Heights, IL where he maintains a virtual business and studio, Gallery 119.
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