Redefining construction: Art in flux

Toronto-based multi-media artist, Michael Capobianco attempts to merge the real and the illusionary in his installation entitled This Site is Under Construction.

Displayed at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG) from April 20 to May 14, this collection offered viewers a chance to step outside reality and immerse themselves within what he described as a “virtual territory in the pursuit of painterly adaptation and image reconfiguration.”

The installation, consisting of six pieces, takes regular oil and acrylic paints and combines them with plywood and steel to create a masterpiece of abstract art.

In an interview with The Cord Capobianco said that his inspiration was drawn from his experiences in the field of construction. Working with his father, he was never really able to find a place for himself in “that type of work.”

Discovering art at an early age, Capobianco focused on his studies at institutions that provided him with further means to develop his passion for art. As a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) graduate from the University of Waterloo, he said that the campus construction impacted him.

“I chose to have this installation displayed at the UWAG to show that this space can be reaffirmed,” he said. “And because I was influenced by the construction in this area.”

In describing what he wants to express to his audience through these works of art, Capobianco explained that he hopes to evoke “confusion.”

Based on unfinished works of architecture, This Site is Under Construction portrays objects in a state of flux. The University of Waterloo is currently under construction, embodying instability and creating a focal point of inspiration for the artist.

Capobianco explained that he wanted to depict “what constitutes a site” and how sites can be interpreted in different ways. He also likened construction to the artistic process, claiming that architecture and building is similar to “the continuous creation of a painting.”

Using bright colours, thick lines and huge canvases, this installation captures the attention of the audience because of its unique flare and abstract feel.

It allows the viewer to reconsider objects that are not typically seen as art by removing them from a real life setting and displaying them as part of a colorful, off-centre, illusionary world. It is this separation of the real and the illusionary that Capobianco was striving for. “I want the audience to see flux,” he said.

The development of these paintings is representative of flux – the fluctuation of ongoing construction, as well as the changing elements of an art piece that is still in the process of being created.

Summing up This Site is Under Construction, Capobianco said that he views the installation as a whole. The exhibit, like the paintings it contains, “transforms and oscillates between conditions of deconstruction and construction,” while taking into consideration the use of space, illusion and the role of perception.