Paintings from the 1970s
The Elizabeth Harris Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of work by Porfirio DiDonna (1942-1986). The exhibition is in cooperation with the Porfirio DiDonna Estate and Nielsen Gallery, Boston. Accompanying the exhibition will be a catalog with an essay by John You. The opening will be Thursday, May 14 from 6 - 8pm. The exhibition will continue through July 31st.
The focus will be on DiDonna's work of 1970's. In The Widening Circle: Consequences of Modernism in Contemporary Art, Barry Schwabsky described DiDonna's concern as "What kind of mark can I stand behind? What makes meaning? What connects?" In the 70's this pulled DiDonna in the direction of classic, simple dots, dashes, and lines forming horizontal or vertical rows and columns.
Each work became an active grid. But the goal of his work was hardly the tenets of the Minimalist movement. DiDonna was like a musician performing a piece of music: the final grid represented the marks of each unique performance. He did not think of the grid as an ultimate form. Instead, he loved the excitement of individual marks as they contributed to the hypnotic rhythms, ecstatic light, and mysterious complications of overall space.
The result was both mysterious and meditative. The discipline of his mark alignments, paradoxically, allowed him to experience a varying universe. Each mark was a participant in space. His marks were whole and fragmentary, light and dark, released from limits to become part of a larger ritual or devotion.
Porfirio DiDonna was born in Red Hook, Brooklyn and lived at home with his parents until he was 37 years old. He never married and died of complications of a brain tumor at age 44. His ltalian parents raised him in the Catholic Church and its influence was strong in the development of his work. During his lifetime he exhibited regularly at O.K. Harris Gallery, Edward Thorp Gallery, and Nielsen Gallery in Boston. His most recent exhibition, in the fall of 2013, was a survey of his work at the Danforth Art Museum.