The Architect As Artist
Alberto Alfonso’s latest project allows him to showcase his skill as an architect and his talent as a painter.
Meeting of the Minds
“I enjoy collaboration, but with artists it’s more interesting. It used to be that the architect, sculptor and painter were always together, and that sort of fell away with the Industrial Revolution. So I think it’s really powerful when you can get the arts back together, working simultaneously,” Alfonso says.
Visual Poet: An Intimate Glimpse into the Artistic Genius of Architect Alberto Alfonso
When asked about how he creates the unmistakable aura of spirituality in his designs, he replies, “I am a man of faith, and my beliefs permeate my work both consciously and subconsciously. I will always be drawn to the intricate balance of shadow and light to create sacred spaces because it is the mystery of the unknown that inspires participation. Kahn said that “light is sacred” and I believe that in both painting and architecture, that the play of light has the potential to connect us to divinity.”
Painting the Poems in Cortona
The exhibit is a testimony to the genius of two men who met and are inspired by life in Cortona, Tuscany. Many people talk about integrated arts, but few have accomplished it so well.
Tuscan Sun Festival with Alberto Alfonso and Edward Mayes
Painting Poetry: The Art of Edward Mayes and Alberto Alfonso
Alberto’s paintings are hauntingly beautiful. Layered and complex, they produce a visceral effect. His images are somehow fleeting; infused with an energy that at times strives to break free from the confines of the frame. We feel that if we look away, when we look back they’ll be gone.
A Tuscan Tableau
Alberto Alfonso says of his fascination with Cortona, Italy, “There isn’t one straight street in this entire town, part of which dates back to 500 B.C. and was built by the Etruscans. There is this constant three-dimensional layering of buildings that makes it almost impossible to draw because nothing is parallel. When you look at the perspective of these streets that wind up and in and around, they’re constantly changing in your viewpoint—you’re moving and the tableau is moving with you.”
While One Writes, the Other Paints
By 10 AM each day, Mayes sends Alfonso a dense, three dimensional poem, as long as 40 lines and footnoted. Alfonso in return will read it, sleep on it that night, and begin painting the following morning….
“It’s really invigorating,” Alfonso said. “It takes me 30 minutes to do – and then when I’m working, I’m consciously thinking about architecture, but I’m also thinking about Keats and Byron.”
Tuscan Sun Festival
At Sant’Agostino, this exhibition is a collaboration between architect/painter Alberto Alfonso, AIA and poet/scholar Edward Mayes.
Alfonso and Mayes live in America and Italy and their collaboration is inspired by their “conversations and observations about the concepts of time in the two countries.”
South Florida architect Alberto Alfonso learned similar lessons from his Cuban-born father, who taught him that he couldn’t understand space without drawing. “Corbu said that creation is a patient search,” Alberto said. “Drawing leads to discovery and investigation – it helps you evolve as an artist and think of yourself as an artist. I like to draw, then build a model and then go to the computer.”
“Please let both Alberto and Edward know that I found this a very satisfying collaboration, much like the pairing of Brice Marden’s etchings with Kenneth Rexroth’s translations of Tu Fu. Of course given my bias I concentrated on the paintings. Considering the intimacy of scale, there is quite a bit packed into these watercolors: art historical references from Matisse to Muybridge, personal iconography that has an almost Jungian feel, architectural space, both flat with the grid as an organizing armature and deep, as in the interiors of rooms. In this mode, I respond particularly to the green gray monochrome of the piece opposite Prolegomena to Any Future Metamorphoses. The group reads like a Book of Hours, a latter day Limbourg Brothers. I would be curious to see the luminosity and undertone of the watercolor carried over into larger oil on canvas as independent works, hopefully without any loss of the immediacy and the sense of the daily rhythm.”