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John Schettino


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When I was young, my family often travelled between city, suburb and ‘the outdoors’. We were more than just tourists passing through, we were living, growing, playing, working and engaging in each of those spaces. That constellation of different worlds was home to all the delights and doubts that comprise many of my earliest memories. Today, the dynamism, homogeneity and Arcadian ideals associated with those environments are the things that inform my work and prompt my critical engagement with spatiality and human geography. In my research and my artwork I look to these subjects as a means of understanding perspective, position, and temporality.

Many of my recent projects use the delineation of space as raw material for the construction of landscape. I approach the conflicted history of the idea of landscape, its fluctuation between instrument of power and object of inspiration, as friction that can become a source of illumination for questions like: How does framed space reconcile enclosure and exclusion? How do exteriors and interiors communicate? Who narrates and remembers space? What is the relationship between landscape and mobility? – These are questions that have few easy answers and many challenging implications. The complexity that emerges from examining these issues is what moves me to respond to landscape in ways that range from reflection to resistance.

In my work, I use abstraction as a way to expand possibilities for understanding through multiple perspectives. Even today, abstraction can sometimes evoke skepticism because it seems far from everyday appearances. That distance, and it’s difference from convention, is what I take as the principal opportunity of an abstract approach. Abstraction articulates the space between what we feel and what we think, the gap between what we see and what we know. Like any unfamiliar space, abstraction is charged with potential to prompt responses that range from anxiety to insight. As an artist, my goal is to shape the context of that encounter into an opening for meaningful experience and cultural value.