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In The Studio
For Varriano the studio exists as much on The New York City Streets as it does in his private workspace. “Out there” he says, “is a complex web of associations, of things that can happen in a split second that must be registered in the eye and mind.” He can often be found with sketchpad and camera in hand always searching for the right situation or circumstance, or with his easel set up on the street in order to capture in paint the fascinating and fleeting world around him.
Varriano needs to speak directly to the people. New York City becomes a magical backdrop for his paintings, but it is really about the people. Old or young, rich or poverty stricken, contrasts can be both beautiful and revealing, but they must be expressed with strength, skill and subtlety, otherwise it is not art, but simply a comparison.“ I don’t want people to just look at my paintings, but to feel them.”
Of course his large, complex and detailed compositions must be worked on in the studio for means of necessity and practicality, but his works always maintain a direct spontaneity that makes us feel the penetration of a moment expressed as an artistic idea. The instantaneous is made timeless, and the timeless is expressed in his paintings. “Great art must transcend time and space”.
Varriano views his studio not only as a place to create paintings, but also as a think tank. “Thoughts must precede anything of worth. The writer uses words to express thoughts. The Musical Composer uses sounds to express thoughts. The Artist uses images to express thoughts. The Mathematician uses numbers partly to express thoughts, but perhaps even more so patterns and images. Where would the Pythagorean Theorem be without the image of the triangle, or the number Pi without the circle?”
But perhaps more than a think tank, Varriano envisions his studio as a primordial cave, not very different from Lascaux, where a communication with the transcendental takes place. “I enter into this dark space with a metaphorical torch known as a light bulb to explore the inner workings of my mind.” Realism, Expressionism, Abstraction and so forth can all be called forth from this type of environment. In Varriano we have a unique dichotomy of the outer world and the inner world.
Varriano is one of those rare individuals that can be both an extrovert and an introvert, outward looking yet highly introspective. No doubt, these contrasting characteristics have revealed themselves in his unique and powerful style.