Mario G Alberico Artist's Statement and Resume Artist Intent 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 Memorial Hospital, 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. Mario Alberico resides with his wife and three children in Arlington Heights, IL where he works at Studio 119. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History.
Artist Curriculum Vitae In September 2010, at the Beyond the Coyote INTO VERSION exhibit, he introduced a new series of art objects from his ongoing contemplation of trees called Main Street Remembered – Recalling the Discovery of the Essence of Trees. The new series of art objects was inspired by the 30th anniversary of his spiritual and artistic epiphany which occurred while he was pondering the brilliance of a very old sugar maple tree, on a sunny afternoon, looking west down Main Street from his apartment in Urbana, during his first semester as a student at the University of Illinois. From July 23rd through October 7th, 2010, some of his latest artwork is on display at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York City in the second edition of Open Portfolio New York City, sponsored by Frère Independent & Elga Wimmer PCC. Mario Alberico was one of 27 selected emerging artists from around the globe to share directly with the public their most recent art works. For 3 days he presented his portfolio of work at the museum and at a selection of his work was left at the museum as part of a unique exhibition created from the 3-day salon and the artists’ interactions with the public. In July 2010 Mario Alberico submitted the painting, “The Last Tree of the First Decade for the Survival of Children” (2009-2010) to the inaugural fundraising event for Compass to Care, a non-profit organization dedicated to scheduling and paying for travel arrangements families require to seek the best cancer care for their children. The painting marked a pivotal time in the oeuvre of the artist’s contemplation of the essence of trees in both style and approach to making the artwork. This was the inauguration of a more complex compositional approach than his previous paintings of trees and was based largely upon his studies of the book The Power of the Center, A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts by Rudolf Anaheim. Also of note is his use of the encaustic technique, another first in his approach to this subject matter. Of utmost importance is the intent of this painting. In May 2010, Mario Alberico was deeply moved when he met the Executive Director for Compass to Care, and chose to complete this painting with the intent of donating to its first fundraising event.
In May and June 2010 he was accepted into the national juried competition A Whole New Mind 2010 Brainstorm that included work from an ongoing series he began in 2008 of brightly colored, lyrical, yet dark paintings, with the presence of a character named LJ. The character was started at the suggestion of his psychiatrist to sketch out ideas or cartoons that would help Mario Alberico continue to use art as a creative outlet to deal with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder brought on by the long term side effects of his cancer treatment. The oil and mixed media on canvas series deals with the drama and complexities of the mind in treating mental illness and represent the ongoing development of his philosophy of art thesis, The Morrison Aesthetic of Attraction and Repulsion.
In March of 2010 his self portrait, “My Face My Torment My Sadness My Anxiety”, a multi-media collage was selected as part of the Self Portrait Show at the Brooklyn Art Library. Part of his 30 year series of self portraits and from his ongoing examination of the mind, the piece captured the raw, physical and physiological state of a soul tortured by a mind full of PTSD and was made with multiple layers of his photo on paper and tissue representing multiple states of emotional distress and an institutional critique the medical profession approach to treatment which in many instances it like putting tissue paper on the brain instead of a focus on healing and repairing the damage done to the mind and the soul. During the summer of 2009 he was selected to participate in the 2nd Annual smART Show at the Flat Iron Artists Association where the debut of his 2009 black enamel, phenomenological self-portrait series, part of his ongoing investigation of the mind, and the Stations of the Cross series “It Was Just An Old Fashioned Lynching.” Both series of artworks were met with great enthusiasm and validated his aesthetic of attraction and repulsion and confirmed the force of his Stations of the Cross under development, “One of Them.”
In the spring of 2008 the debut of his LJ paintings occurred at the globally recognized Chicago International Art Exhibition, Artropolis, and included the vast array of his oeuvre; Trees, Crosses, and Landscapes. At the same time his work was on display at the corresponding city wide art event, Looptopia.
In fall of 2007 he participated in the Around the Coyote in Chicago and at the Chicago Art Open part of the Chicago Artists’ Coalition featuring work from his classic Cross and Tree Paintings.
In 2006 he was commissioned by St Mary's Episcopal Church in Park Ridge, IL to make a Stations of the Cross for Lent. The exhibit, called Stations of the Cross 2006 - It was Just an Old Fashioned Lynching focused on the fact that Jesus was simply lynched by a mob 2000 years ago and we continue to crucify Christ to this day with hate; in words, in actions and in non-action. Through the sale of limited edition prints of the exhibit $2,000 was raised to feed the poor. His paintings have also been shown in various venues, including The Student Union at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, The Italian American Art Exhibition, Bensen Galleries, the American Cancer Society, Arlington Heights Artists on Display at the Heritage Gallery, the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights, non-profit institutions and numerous private collections. He is a frequent speaker for the American Cancer Society and Children's Memorial Hospital and donates his artwork to raise money for cancer research and spiritual education. His painting, the "Tree of Hope," was created at the Arlington Park Relay for Life and became the centerpiece for the American Cancer Society's Annual Gala, Harvesting Hope for Cancer and at live auction raised $7,500 for childhood cancer research at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where he was treated and cured of cancer. Artist Advocacy and Advisory Mario Alberico has served on numerous non-profit boards including Willow House, a social service organization dedicated to helping children, teens, families and communities who are coping with death and dying. He is currently serving as the Chairperson of the patient advisory board for adult survivors of pediatric cancer at the Robert Lurie Cancer Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in Chicago; is the Executive Director of the not-for-profit organization Foundation 119 which he founded and whose mission is to help alleviate the suffering of the poor, the oppressed, the orphaned, the widowed and the afflicted. Recently, he was has joined the Board of Trustees of the Cornerstone Foundation of the Lutheran Social Services of Illinois serving over 75,000 people in need throughout the State of Illinois and Board of Directors of Compass to Care, a non-profit organization that provides up to $5,000 and travel arrangements for families to get their children to the best cancer care possible.
Proceeds from his business, Gallery 119, Inc and the sales of his artwork go to help fund Foundation 119. Also, he frequently donates his artwork to charitable organizations aligned with his life’s mission and purpose. He is also on the board of the Martin G Alberico Scholarship Foundation whose objective is to provide scholarships to students pursuing an education in psychology or other careers that will help those suffering from mental illness, which ultimately caused his brother Martin’s death by suicide in 2003. Recently, he joined True North Treks, is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of adolescent and young adult cancer survivors during their transition or "re-entry" from a cancer diagnosis and treatment to survivorship where. He dedicates his time and shares his experiences as a guide and mentor for young adult cancer survivors to help them live a rich and purposeful life.
Current Projects Where Do Guys Like Us Get Guns? – The Stone Altars of the Daemon An ambitious installation project focused on helping people understand the impact of suicide (and depression) to enable the victims' loved ones find healing in the aftermath of such tragedy. The intent of the artworks is to help to educate our society to be open to recognizing and actively dealing with this hidden epidemic.
Stations of the Cross 2010 – One of Them A follow-up to Stations of the Cross, It Was Just and Old Fashioned Lynching, this series is focused on the human tragedy of looking at others as “one of them” and was inspired by the poem “Night, Death in Mississippi” by Robert Hayden.
Main Street Remembered – Recalling the Discovery of the Essence of Trees In September 2010, at the Beyond the Coyote INTO VERSION exhibit, he introduced a new series of art objects from his ongoing contemplation of trees called Main Street Remembered – Recalling the Discovery of the Essence of Trees. The new series of art objects was inspired by the 30th anniversary of his spiritual and artistic epiphany which occurred while he was pondering the brilliance of a very old sugar maple tree, on a sunny afternoon, looking west down Main Street from his apartment in Urbana, during his first semester as a student at the University of Illinois. The LJ Series This is the ongoing exploration of LJ’s synaptic journey on his neurological pathways which investigates the mind and its dysfunctions, challenges and triumphs over mental illness and depression.
The Gandhi Project (Artist Collaboration) In concert with Laura Morrisonthe goal of this project is to create a modular installation and some pieces will be made together and some around a jointly worked central we have been working on three large electrical junction boxes to incorporate into the installation and we each work on a box independently in our studios and send the third box back and forth in the mail along with a journal to communicate with each other. Without a preconceived notion, the project is currently a process more than product and some part learning about Gandhi’s principles and not an installation the Mahatma.
Correspondences with Poets Inspired by the series at the Musee d’Orsay and the poem by Frank O’Hara “Why I am Not a Painter” this project encompasses the correspondences of his artworks with the poems of six poets which will result in a minimum of 18 artworks and 18 poems to be published as a fine art catalogue in the fall of 2011.
The Romantic Museum An exhibition of multiple perspectives of the love of a man for his wife. The installation includes over 30 artworks exploring many themes: Panels of Portraits (paintings), Boxes and Boxes of Biographics (assemblage) Movie Pictures (video), Quilting Combines (combines), Papal Institutional Critique (conceptual), Her Dossier (language), and Star Gazing (poetry).
Kosuth vs Wilde This conceptual artwork puts Carolyn Wilde’s essay, “Matter and Meaning in the Work of Art: Joseph Kosuth’s One and Three Chairs”, on trial for its circular logic and uses linguistics and the physical visual element of the essay and notes as components of the viewer’s participation.
Digital Art Spawn Intrigued with the explosion of hand held technology and personal computing devices; this project is focused on making photo montage on wood panels from over 500 digital photos from the iPhone application, Spawn. His first use of digital art technology combined with traditional, older art materials on wood panels serves as a platform to engage the viewer in considering the tension old and new, tradition and innovation, and what he calls calls of “Instant Reminiscing.”