Sal Sirugo's unique Abstract Expressionism on view at Fairfield University's Walsh Gallery


Image: Sal SirugoThe works of Sal Sirugo, a hidden treasure of the American abstract expressionist movement, will be on display at the Thomas J. Walsh Gallery at Fairfield University, September 19 through December 8. An opening reception for "Sal Sirugo: From the Intimate to the Infinite" will take place Thursday, Sept. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m., with a 6:30 p.m. lecture by exhibit curator Jeffrey Wechsler, chief curator of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University.

Born in Sicily, Mr. Sirugo has been creating a highly original body of work representing a personal variation on Abstract Expressionism since the late 1940s. Known for his innovations in "field painting," a way of painting that virtually dispenses with traditional composition, Mr. Sirugo rejects a signature style, preferring to evolve in several directions over more than five decades of work.

In the early 1960s, Mr. Sirugo joined the Tanager Gallery, one of New York City's first artist cooperative galleries. Admired by his fellow artists as a "painter's painter," Mr. Sirugo is known for his abstractions, landscapes, face-like images he calls "Heads," and striking circular forms he dubs "Eyes." While many of his contemporaries, including fellow field painter Jackson Pollock, worked on huge canvases, Mr. Sirugo prefers tiny spaces: Most of his works are only a few inches in height and width.

Mr. Sirugo's experimental spirit extends to every aspect of his work, including his ever-changing technique. He has painted on canvas, writing paper and vellum, sometimes applying his pigments with his fingers, sponges or eye droppers. His works incorporate commercial paints and inks, as well as crayon, carbon paper and even colors made from coffee and tea. The one thing that remains the same is a sense of wholeness and a mysterious, meditative quality that draws the viewer into his unique way of seeing.

The Walsh Art Gallery is located in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. Mr. Sirugo's work can be viewed Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (203) 254-4000, ext. 2969.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on July 10, 2002

Vol. 35, No. 14