Pasquale Cuppari: Mondo Bello


Virginia Fabbri Butera, Ph D

Jackson Pollock said, “I am Nature,” but Pasquale Cuppari declares, through the latest paintings in his series, Mondo Bello (Beautiful World), “I am the Universe.” Cuppari, an artist for over 50 years, has focused on social and environmental issues throughout his career. But in the Mondo Bello works, he celebrates the ecstatic qualities of beauty that comprise his, and our, universe. Layering each canvas with a potent blend of oil, enamel and mixed media, Cuppari interprets this exquisite world and galaxy in which we live. He plays with light and delicate colors which outline subtle shifts in his textured abstract images. He punctuates inky blues and blacks with fronds of stars and galactic clusters. In short, Cuppari combines the real, the imagined and the mythological, the earthly and the astronomical, through gentle whispers and bold exclamations in paint.

Fiori di Ciliege (Cherry Blossoms) revels in minute gold and rose colored shifts of paint and glitter with clusters of red bits of metallic materials seemingly wind-blown across the field of the canvas. Putting the viewer in the role of Saint Francis, Cuppari offers us intense royal blue, black and orange pieces flocking on the light blue surface of Uccelli (Birds). Like Fiori di Ciliege and Un Posto al Sole (A Place in the Sun), Uccelli allows us to contemplate the smaller particles, shapes and creatures of nature that often flit across our visual consciousness. For Cuppari, color and texture are essential matter, and we are saturated by the brilliant yellow and tangled rays pouring down from the top of Un Posto al Sole.

In the music and movement of the purples, blues, yellows and whites of Serenata (Seranade), Cuppari trumpeted glitter into the flowing orchestral pigments. If Serenata is like seeing the “music of the spheres,” Sotto le Stelle (Under the Stars) reinterprets the awe of standing below the Milky Way, stunned by the infinite number of stars. And in Notturno (Nocturne), layer upon layer of paint and collage elements merge the microcosm of the artist’s activity with the macrocosm of the birth of dark matter and shining galaxies.

Cuppari’s ability to externalize internal sensations, emotions and experiences and re-present them to us in paint is part of the power of his art. The exuberance and noise of Parade is accomplished through its organic shapes, swirling glittered surface, and play between red, orange, purple and blue shifting hues. We see the felt experience of cacophony, crunched crowds and excitement, whether in nature or New York City. In comparison, Fuori dell’Ombra (Out of the Shade), has a cool, sparkling delicate shading out of which a bolt of difused yellow and pink bursts. Is it a real or an emotional shadow, or a storm in nature subsiding? The surfaces of Paparina and Il Poeta (The Poet) are physically weighty and drenched with strata of collected debris. In Paparina, the primary colors make our eyes vacillate between the bleeding red in the middle, the yellow on the top left and right and the blue on the lower two sides. Il Poeta swirls with stanzas and gestures of brown and red paint interspersed with swathes of white. The result is a canvas that pulsates with metaphoric tornado-like creative energy. But the explosive power is most visible in Verso Il Cielo (Towards the Sky) which, like Notturno, is an homage to expansiveness of nature and the universe, the ultimate source of Cuppari’s inspiration.

-Virginia Fabbri Butera, Ph. D.