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by Kathleen Menéndez

Pyrography News From Around the World

Newsletter No. 18, Page One of Three

Pyro Kaleidoscope


Page One:
Adriano Colangelo: Fantasy Themes

Page Two:
José Pelegrina-Vissepo: Indigenous Peoples of the Americas
Diógenes Giorlandino Turns His Talents to Pyrography on Gourds

Page Three:
Vadim Grozavu: Photorealism
Book Review: Gourd Pyrography by Jim Widess
Mystery Corner: Another Ball Hughes Pyrograph?
Mark Hale: From His Workshop

Adriano Colangelo: Fantasy Themes

Italian Adriano Colangelo describes his background as somewhat complex. It began in Naples, Italy, where he grew up receiving a "strict, European education, thank God." For his higher education, he went on to study in Rome at the State Academy of Theater, Cinematography, and Design. Besides his education, Adriano attributes the courage that he found in the hard experience of the war as one more important aspect shaping the person he has come to be.

From Europe to South America

By 1955, Adriano began participating in exhibitions. His first show was in a gallery in Naples. Two years later he had another--that time in Rome. By 1959 Adriano had his third show--in his own atelier (studio) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He had taken a position in Sao Paulo as an art history professor at the Contemporary School of Art.

by Adriano Colangelo

Pyrography and color on paper, 48 in. by 34 in.

Image courtesy of Fernando Franzoso

Defining His Medium

In the following nine years, Adriano had already shown his paintings in 14 exhibitions when, in 1964, in what was already his fourth exhibition in that year, he began showing his pyrographs on wood. This is the medium Adriano described as

his "new and definitive artistic language."

Four years later, he was introducing pyrographic works on paper, and by 1970, he had added pyrographs on velvet to his offerings.

Dance of the Deva
by Adriano Colangelo

Pyrography and color on paper

Image courtesy of Fernando Franzoso

New Horizons

The year 1971 brought two more events, the second of which showed five of Adriano's pyrographs in a prestigious traveling exhibition called the Program of Current Brazilian Art in Engraving and Design (Programa de Arte Atual Brasileira de Gravura e Desenho). With that exhibition, Adriano's works toured many of the principal art museums in South America, culminating in the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

Back to Italy

In 1972 Adriano was invited to participate in an important international exhibition entitled "Graphics in Fantasy Art" in the Gallery of Modern Art "Il Fauno" in Verona, Italy, with 12 pyrographs on paper shown alongside the works of several great international masters including Salvador Dali, Giorgio di Chirico, and Pablo Picasso. Adriano's exhibit was unique among all of those in that it was the only one with work in pyrography.

This for Adriano Colangelo was a landmark event in his career--one that resulted in his works going to galleries in Paris, Milan, Basel, Verona, Rome, Boston, Washington D.C., Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo.

by Adriano Colangelo

Pyrography and color on paper, 48 in. by 34 in.

Image courtesy of Fernando Franzoso

Sources of Inspiration

To feed his fertile imagination for the fantastical, Adriano has borrowed from the richly colorful deities of Hinduism, many of which (visually) represent the elements of Nature, lending themselves to an ever more meaningful part of Adriano's existence and art. The figure called "Deva," which appears often in his pyro paintings, is named from a word in Sanskrit that is the Hindu equivalent of "Angel."

"Regarding the theme pervading my work," Adriano Colangelo says, "I must confess that ever since I was a little kid, I always had a great love for Nature, her mysteries, and her harmony that is so complex. Next I must confess that I have explored and continue to explore, each time with a greater and deeper reverence, the Mystery of Creation, which makes me, at the age of 67, very happy."

Besides his native Italian, Adriano became fluent in Portuguese and Spanish, and is presently studying English. He talked about his life in Brazil and also time spent in Argentina. He explained that, for a European, experiencing the exuberance of flora and fauna and the intensity of life in South America is wondrous. He referred to the lands in that part of the world as "magical."

The Deva of the Night
by Adriano Colangelo

Pyrography and color on paper, 48 in. by 34 in.

Image courtesy of Fernando Franzoso

Closing Thoughts

If you thought that Adriano Colangelo kept busy participating over his 45-year art career in more than 70 exhibitions (with mostly very large works), consider that he simultaneously taught art history in five different schools during that period and gave nearly 80 conferences and lectures in series. He also wrote many published essays of his own and collaborated in editing many others. He even has scientific publications to his credit--he illustrated five of those. His C.V. has lists of his activities that are pages long. His latest exhibition was only last year.

View more of Adriano Colangelo's works on his website www.adrianocolangelo.com.br and in the E-Museum of Pyrographic Art.

Adriano's obvious delight in using the concept of angels in his fantastical (pyrographical) "flights" perhaps is linked to his own person and his last name Colangelo, which, translated from the Italian, means "with the angel." He sums up his positive outlook, active participation in and view of life:

"What a strange experience, mine: In the War I learned to look with serenity in the face of Death, only to later, through the miracle of Art, Culture, and Gaia Mother Earth, to look with profound joy and gratitude in the face of Life."

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2002, Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez, all rights reserved.