Observations on an Anderson Ranch Art Center Residency

April 9, 2013

In the echo chamber that is today’s media, coverage is evaluated by how many times it bounces from blog to Facebook to blog to Tweet. The following started as a Facebook entry. It was kindly introduced into the blogosphere by artist and jeweler Naomi Rachel Muirhead. I can’t say that it has gone viral or even bacterial. But here I reclaim it for my site.

SACI Alum Daniel Dallabrida (Post-Bac: Fall 2007-Spring 2008) closed the doors on his professional career in 2003 and moved to Italy to explore the art, culture, and language of his heritage. He has since returned to his hometown of San Francisco, received his MFA (2011) at the California College of Arts, and recently participated in an artist residency at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado. Here he gives some insight on his experience at the Ranch.

Nestled high in the Rockies, Anderson Ranch is a place like no other. The facilities and studios are state-of-the-art. The year-round Ranch staff, artists themselves, are encyclopedic in the knowledge and infinitely patient with their support. The twelve other Residents and I were provided with a large studio space, technical assistance, 4-star meals and a small room that Fra Angelico would have envied. This isolated, monastic incubator brews a community of interaction, conceptual development and intense production of art.

Water-blasting ceramics at Anderson Ranch Art Center, Snowmass, CO

Water-blasting ceramics at Anderson Ranch Art Center, Snowmass, CO

The Anderson Ranch Artists’ Residency Program is designed to provide an environment for the creative, intellectual and personal growth of emerging and established visual artists. It is one of the country’s most prestigious arts programs. I am honored to have been selected to participate by an independent jury of notable artists.

The commute between my room and studio was about 50 feet (with the cafe in between). It encourages long days and, being a night person, late nights.

My residency was in the ceramic department. I’ve continued my exploration of time as cycles of events that lay upon each other like layers of plaster on a wall. Each layer tells the story of a touch, a caress, a hand. Marks of counting, sketches of lovers, stains of rage bleed through the layers. The past, as part of the present, is never completely covered.

Through my art flow the tributaries of Yves Klein and Derek Jarman’s blue spectacles; Homer’s eternal tales; Umberto Eco’s neo-medieval mind; Lucio Fontana’s inaudible explosions; Nelson Mandela’s mountainous pride; Mimmo Rotalla’s relentless excavations; Rwanda’s savage genocide; Rumi’s laughter; and the ground as warmed by Giuseppe Penone’s touch

Contemporary Ruins (detail), 2013. Pigment, ceramic

Daniel has exhibited in Singapore, Florence, Rome, Milan, and San Francisco. He continues developing his artistic interpretation of Homer’s “Iliad” with a series of ritual/installation/artifact events. With this project he considers his own life experience in the context of timeless epic. Presenting beautiful moments and mysterious surfaces Dallabrida reaches for that point where one’s interior and exterior worlds commingle—where story, story-teller and viewer become indistinguishable.

Preparing for a street window installation in San Francisco for this summer, Daniel is also currently conducting research for an exhibition that he will curate in Colorado and working on preliminary planning for exhibition of his own art in Argentina. Both are on the books for 2014.

Contemporary Ruins (detail), 2013 Pigment, ceramic