Santa Fe, NM, June 19-July 2
John Maisano has been creating art for as long as he can remember, but it wasn’t until he began sculpting in 2001 that he discovered his true calling. “It was an immediate awakening,” he says. “Everything felt smooth and natural, like that’s what I was supposed to be doing.”
Today Maisano works as exhibit designer and artist-in-residence at the Texas Memorial Museum at the University of Texas at Austin, though he’s moving toward sculpture as a full-time profession. Maisano’s first-ever one-man show is June 19-July 2 at Beals & Abbate Fine Art in Santa Fe, and it includes more than 20 bronze sculptures ranging from miniscule to monumental in scale. An opening reception is on June 22 from 5 to 8 p.m.
The first sculpture Maisano ever created was a 12-foot-long, 7-foot-high bronze dinosaur commissioned by the Hartman Prehistoric Garden in Austin. Despite having no prior sculpting experience, Maisano decided to “give it a shot.” The resulting sculpture was so well received that Maisano immediately began honing his newfound skill. Primarily self-taught, Maisano says his greatest artistic influences are the late sculptor Gene Tobey, his wife Rebecca, and son Joshua Tobey, as well as Colorado sculptor Rosetta.
While Maisano knew instantly that he was meant to sculpt, discovering his personal style took time. “It was a frustrating two-year process trying to find my passion,” he says. Then one day he sat at his kitchen table and asked himself, “What do I really love?” He came up with three answers: animals, art deco, and art nouveau. These passions are evident in his work, where sleek animal forms are accented with intricate designs. “Art deco is about strength of line and form, and art nouveau is about that beautiful flow of design,” he explains. “I try to combine all these elements in my work.”
The animals Maisano sculpts often hold significant meaning, such as the wild boar, owl, and bison. “These animals speak to me because of their power,” he says. Others are more whimsical, like the frog, rabbit, or armadillo. All are elegant and evocative. “I try to capture the spirit of the animal,” says Maisano. “My goal is to make people see the creature differently.”
Gallery owner Bobby Beals affirms the artist’s intention, stating, “In the form, curves, and designs of each animal that John sculpts, you’ll find the essence of spirit and beauty within. His works invite you to rediscover yourself and find something new.” —Lindsay Mitchell
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