The Drawers - John Torreano   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Situation, Positioning, Location

Lucy in the sky with diamonds”, “like a diamond in the sky”, or “diamonds are a girl's best friend” are popular well worn phrases. Gems have powerful associations. In Torreano's paintings and sculptures there are three dimensional facsimiles of emeralds, sapphires, rubies, topazes and other precious gems whose names are exotic and conjure visions of wealth and grandeur. In the works on paper, Torreano's watercolor gems are unattached, floating free and where there is a dark blue background - constellations and their relation to the signs of the zodiac, birthstones and destiny is an obvious reference to clairvoyant research.

Torreano's search in the jewel box also has a scientific, engineering orientation. He relates to cuts and facets. He has chosen a subject that has an infinite number of variables to explore - an inner and outer definition of space, color, reflection, transparency and opaqueness. Monetary association aside, a gem is, with austere physical complexity, challenging subject matter. It is the ultimate still life. As an artist, Torreano takes his comparatively rough tools and with his experience, he undertakes the fashioning of light, the depiction of miraculous substance.

Torreano's gem obsession has not hypnotized his objectivity. He presents the gems with distance. He grants space to his renderings with a conscious displaying of his collection so that each jewel is presented on the paper like a painting on a wall in a white cube gallery. The floating gem next door doesn't interfere with the appreciation of the gem-at-hand. It is, however, somewhat compromised by the attraction of the neighboring jewel with its seductive allure providing fertile ground for new longings. The response is a fervent reminder of the Gollum theory; “my precious” was the term that the lop-eared creature gave to the object that had captured his desire. Torreano's gems are a gentle reminder of our desire to possess, a desire that can overtake reason and stew in the head with smoldering insistence. But as we ponder, the wonder of physical phenomenology quells with the intervention of fine art.

Copyright © 2006,  Headbones Gallery, The Drawers