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Artist Statement:

George Lorio

Born in New Orleans and raised through my teenage years in that city framed my vision of life. It was and continues to be a place of extremes: beauty and decay, religion and ritual, custom and iconoclasm. The spirit of the city embraces an attitude of dispensation in the form of the annual bacchanal of Mardi Gras when the celebrations are exuberate. From that experience, I acquired an excitement for visual matters, colors, forms and even artifacts.

My family moved to Florida with my father’s job transfer in my late adolescence. With that transition, my visual appetite expanded to the sensuous verdure of the semi-tropical landscape. I finished my university education with a Master of Fine Arts from the University of South Florida in Tampa after which I was awarded a number of residency grants funded by the state and federal government, which moved my young family and me around Florida. During those times, I made my art as I reflected on my experience using a metaphor of motifs derived from my surroundings. Natural motifs became more interesting to me. A teaching job in Michigan reduced my color sense in my ruminations on the landscape with the northern winter. Another teaching job in North Carolina returned a benign view of nature as I drew on my observations to make art. Now in Texas, I am seeing another aspect of the land and the culture it supports; I am increasingly fascinated by fabricating water in my sculpture.

Presently, I live near the Rio Grande; the brown green strip of flowing water which divides countries, cultures and landscapes. The differences in lifestyles on the two opposing banks are significant. Water is the vital yet limited nurturance of the region.

The Rio Grande, the US border, is the southern mote for the lower forty-eight states maintained in its present channel by treaty. This side of the river is the haven of the first, second or third generation Mexican-Americans who have made it over. The Mexican side has stratified wealthy elite whose money allows casual access in contrast to a less privileged population whose legal crossings are monitored and temporary or whose illegal passage is covert and strained.

My chosen black surface for water carries with it an ambiguous, obscure or illusive reading. Its darkness suggests murkiness; therefore, is its depth shallow or deep or is its quality clean or polluted? The inference for water colored black can be described as powerful and frightening. Any of these descriptions can apply to the Rio Grande.

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