"The Emperor's New Clothes" - Contemporary art by Donald Vaccino opens at the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery


Fairfield University's Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery introduces Donald Vaccino's newest paintings and drawings on Sunday, Jan. 27 with the opening of "The Emperor's New Clothes," a dynamically vivid exhibition of his contemporary art. The exhibition runs through Sunday, March 9. There will be an opening reception at the Gallery on Jan. 27 from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Donald Vaccino says of his work, "My work is always meant to be life affirming." He thinks of his paintings as "a place with fragrant colors and exhilarating spaces, a place to embrace and enhance the human spirit and celebrate and emulate its fantastic creations."

One series of paintings, "Giant Steps," evolved from the jazz of John Coltrane's music of the same name. While working on this series of paintings, Vaccino filled his studio with the sounds of the legendary jazz musician. Coltrane's staccato sounds became the inspiration for the artist's canvases. The "Giant Steps" paintings mirror the telescoping and "micro-scoping" of Coltrane's sound and Vaccino interprets the music visually by contrasting black and white patterns with an interruption of the flow by including solid red and brown forms.

Dr. Diana Mille, director of the Walsh Art Gallery, sees much of his work as a particularly personal yet universal observation of a present reality. "Vaccino compounds and deepens a perceived reality through the surrealist techniques he employs and bridges the chasm that exists between the unconscious and the conscious with rare style. I am enthusiastic about having the opportunity to present such a dynamic and complex artistic vision to the public."

Vaccino began his art education at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1971. After only a year at RISDI, as it is known, he "felt the need to learn something more concrete, the craft of painting," he has explained. He continued his explorations in Florence, Italy at the Santa Reperata Graphic Workshop and returned to the U.S. to complete his BFA at Boston University and received his MFA in 1981 from Long Island University.

He has had solo exhibitions in New York City with Andrew Plessar, at the Romano Gallery in New Jersey, in Stockholm, Sweden and in Tokyo, Japan.

This artist's constant search for a new perspective on human authenticity demands that he muster the courage to continually question the status quo, much like the child of Hans Christian Andersen's famous fairy tale, "The Emperor's New Clothes." With the oft-posed question hanging in the air that begs an explanation of his concept of painting, Vaccino answers with Zen-like simplicity, "The painting IS the concept."

As part of the ongoing Director's Choice Lecture Series, Donald Vaccino will speak about the work on exhibit Thursday, Feb. 7 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Admission is $5 and all are invited to bring lunch to this informal lecture.

The Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 noon to 4 p.m. The Gallery is closed on Mondays.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 10, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 149