In high school, Mario Alberico was diagnosed with a rare and fatal form of bone cancer, Ewing's Sarcoma. During the two years that he underwent experimental chemotherapy and radiation treatment under the care of Dr. Edward Baum of Chicago's Children's MemorialHospital, making artworks became a creative outlet to capture the emotional experience of a life with cancer. The experimental treatment for the disease resulted in a spiritual catharsis that led to a numinous experience while painting called "Contemplation”, defined as a sublime state of interior union with God. He then began exploring his faith while capturing the essence of trees and crosses as metaphors for living his life as a cancer survivor.
As a long term survivor of pediatric cancer he explores, through the act of making art, the paradox of physical and emotional suffering joined together with the magnificence of being and existence. He believes that the aesthetic experience must invite the viewer to become a participant with the artwork to bridge the gap between art and life. When the viewer makes the choice to move from their initial aesthetic response to a deeper understanding of the meaning of his artworks, he believes that hope arises from experiencing the sublime in art’s power to simultaneously confront suffering and celebrate the beauty of life.
In 2006, business consultant and artist Mario Alberico incorporated Gallery 119.The mission of Gallery 119 is to help alleviate the suffering of the poor, the oppressed, the orphaned, the widowed and the afflicted in the world. This is accomplished in a number of ways that include the exhibit, sale and donation of art works. As part of his mission, a non-profit 501c3 company calledFoundation 119 was created. This charitable organization accepts proceeds from Gallery 119, and donations from many other sources, and selects institutions and people to receive funds whose work or need is aligned with our mission and the life experiences of the artist.