Provenance Center is pleased to have the opportunity to present Debora Aldo's mosaic art, particularly as this event highlights one more fascinating dimension of our artistic and cultural origins.

Oil & Water Don't Mix (detail)


Historical Tessellation and Current Adumbration Exhibit

Debora Aldo
September 1 - 30, 2012

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 1, 2012 from 7:00-9:00 p.m.

The story of Mosaic art is as extensive as it is colorful. Through the eyes and original art work of Connecticut Mosaic artist, Debora Aldo, this exhibit hopes to both enlighten and educate with a selective survey of the history of Western Mosaic Art to contemporary time, where Mosaics have enjoyed a resurgence of interest in recent decades. Although Debora Aldo has studied design and other forms of art, her principle focus has become mastering the art of mosaic. Her method of working requires tools that have been used for thousands of years but are still supremely suited to the task of cutting chunks of stone and glass into usable tesserae, (cubes of material), the building blocks of mosaic.


This exhibit has been decades in the making, via a long, circuitous artistic journey. I have studied design and other forms of art for many years but have become devoted to mastering the art of mosaic. With more than 5,000 years of history, this is a slow process, but then so is the creation of mosaic art. My method of working requires tools that have been used for thousands of years but are still supremely suited to the task of cutting chunks of stone and glass into usable tesserae, (cubes of material) the building blocks of mosaic. As an illustrator and graphic designer, I learned about composition and color. When working as a landscape architect, I learned how to truly see my surroundings, to appreciate ecological and environmental issues, and to bring something into the physical plane that was merely a concept. This experience and knowledge has allowed me to create mosaics on a large scale, to design spaces and to customize work for a wide range of sites. In Latin, this is called genius loci, referring to the forging of a connection with the spirit of a place.

As my medium of choice, mosaic is a very complex art form. It requires drawings to convey the concept, a choice of materials and colors that will enhance the composition and make the narration of subject clear to both artist and the viewer. All this requires thought before laying down a single tessera. My chosen materials are most often stone, glass and frequently the use of recycled elements. Stone and pebbles, glass and smalti are ancient and imbued with historical meaning. Both stone and glass react and reflect light and are symbolic of water and land, the planet we inhabit and the one for which we all bear responsibility. Using both traditional and contemporary materials gives rise to an andamento (the pattern of the pieces) that is fully formed in the modern world, while referencing the ancient world for guidance and inspiration. In my work I am seeking something that resonates universally, to explore our inter-connectedness with each other, to both internalize and externalize this huge mystery. I hope to offset the artificial fabrication of the world by building something that is meaningful while striving to evoke beauty, serenity, and enduring strength.  
  Finally, the choice of title is intended to further elaborate upon my personal connection with the world of mosaic art. The term tessellation comes from the Latin, meaning to form into or adorn with mosaic. Small tesserae of clay, stone or glass (traditional mosaic materials) are fitted together to form a mosaic. Tessellation also refers to what occurs as the pieces are placed: the creation of pattern. This word is integral to the process and production of mosaics. To put this concept into a more common usage, consider the shape of a honeycomb, or the pixels that make up a picture on your TV screen. A single pixel is just a dot, but when many dots are combined they become an image. The process of tessellation began in the second to third centuries, B.C., and is still found in contemporary mosaic. The second term, adumbration, means to outline a plan, or to give a foreshadowing or hint of things to come. In this case I refer to the future of mosaic. Those of us who desire and strive to continue this ancient tradition into the current day are in the midst of defining what contemporary mosaic is and as with any art this can often become very subjective.
Lands� End
Smoke Gets in your Eyes

I speak here from my own point of view and as someone who is still musing, cogitating, and actively seeking my own artistic path. I cannot say that I have a clear vision of what will happen or become of mosaic, if this is fine art or still something merely decorative, but I am certainly looking to the future with mosaic as my guide in this journey.

~ Debora Aldo

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�Contemporary mosaic doesn�t exist, but contemporary artists that utilize mosaic as their preferred technique or expressive language do.� ~ Daniele Torcellini


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