FRANC PALAIA - ARTWORK
In 1990 I began a series investigating photographic illumination with sculptural forms. Early pieces were translucent color images housed in found domestic and industrial recycled containers, such as crates, suitcases, auto parts, shopping bags, toys, appliances, etc., usually evoking political and/or humorous and ironic themes.
My current works combine back-lit digital transparencies or Duratrans with partially eradicated mirrors to create a play of direct and reflected light. The images are panoramic spans and arcades of ancient Roman aqueducts, architecture, American bridges and viaducts of different eras. The works range from 2 to 8 feet horizontally and vertically. The photo-mirrors are illuminated from behind and project off the wall where fluorescent and incandescent light passes through the mirrors. This allows the viewer to see two distinctly disparate images simultaneously, classic Roman architecture along with their own reflections as well as reflected background imagery. The ancillary light from other parts of the room creates continuous mercurial animation and interplay with the viewer. Light is an integral part of the pieces because it simulates the warm Mediterranean sunlight and the deliberately crude removal of the mirror backing enhances the antiquity of the subject matter. An ongoing concern in my work has been to present photography in a variety of unconventional ways and to juxtapose exotic worldly - images with prosaic consumer objects. The modern mirrors and lights together with the rustic architectural imagery convey the contrasting irony of old versus new, purchased and found, high tech and low tech.
My intentions are to expand the parameters of photography which includes innovation, materials, technique, concept and presentation.
FRANC PALAIA is a painter, photographer, muralist, sculptor, lamp designer, curator and educator. His encyclopedic resume includes over 300 group exhibitions and over 35 solo shows, regional, national and international. He has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the White House, the New Museum and the Smithsonian Institute. In 2011, Franc will be included in a survey exhibition of American Prints at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
Locally he has exhibited at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, Vassar College, Dutchess Community College, BAU Gallery in Beacon, Highland Cultural Center, Albert Shahinian Fine Art and the Barrett Art Center to name a few. His solar powered photo-sculpture appeared in the Kingston Sculpture Biennial last summer and is currently installed on the grounds of the Cunneen-Hackett Art Center. He will install a new photo-kinetic sculpture in this year’s Newburgh Sculpture Project on the waterfront. His Photo-Lamp window installations include the Whitney Museum store, Macy’s and Barneys New York. Franc has received over 14 grants including the prestigious Rome Prize Fellowship, the Louis Comfort Tiffany grant, a Polaroid Sponsorship and two Dutchess County Arts Council grants . He was selected Poughkeepsian of the Year by the Weekly Beat and received the Executive Arts Award from the Dutchess County Arts Council, both in 2003.
He has curated over a dozen group exhibitions in the US and in Italy since 1982. Four of his curated shows were presented at the Newark Museum, Alternative Museum, Collaborative Concepts in Beacon and the American Academy in Rome.
As a muralist, Franc has painted many outdoor and indoor murals, including one of the largest murals on the east coast in Jersey City, which was featured in a Hollywood movie starring Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins. His “olde Main Street Mural” in Poughkeepsie and the “Empire State Games mural on the Civic Center has helped revitalize lower Main Street since 2002. He will be painting two large murals in the summer of 2006, “Archways” in Newburgh and NJ Transit mural in Woodbridge, NJ. NJ Transit has recently commissioned Franc to design three 20 foot etched glass windscreens for the Woodbridge Train Station in NJ. Franc was co-organizer of ArtWalk, ArtHop and Friday on Main. In September 2006, he will unveil his most ambitious indoor mural, the largest (138 feet) in Poughkeepsie at the Poughkepsie High School.
He has worked and collaborated with many celebrated artists such as; Salvador Dali, Annie Liebowitz, Robert Wilson, Crash, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Palaia’s works are included in dozens of public and private collections including the Museum of Modern Art library, Johnson & Johnson’s, McDonald’s Corp., Polaroid Corp.,Senator Frank Lautenburg and singer Diana Ross. Franc is co-founder of CAP (City Artist Partnership) and the Gallery Shop and he is currently the Vice President of the Barrett Art Center’s Board of Directors.
Starting in September 2006, Franc will host a Time Warner Cable TV program on the visual arts. Entitled, ARTSFOCUS, the weekly half hour program will profile painters, photographers, sculptors, video & filmmakers, architects, art dealers, curators, folk artists and others to discuss current arts projects and trends.