3 May–15 June 2003
Salvatore Zofrea: Portraits and Psalms brings together two important series for the artist; a collection of 60 portraits – intimate studies that reveal the close bond between artist and sitter – presented alongside a selection from his renowned Psalm series. This exhibition reflects Zofrea’s dedication to paint from an artist who has won much acclaim for an uncompromising approach to his work.
Salvatore Zofrea’s signature is his theatrical sense of colour, much of which is inspired by his Italian heritage. Born in southern Italy in 1946, Zofrea migrated with his family to Australia in 1956, settling in Sydney’s Manly area where he still lives today. As the only immigrant child at school, he was a novelty of sorts, totally preoccupied with a passion for painting. At the age 17 he entered art school and soon succeeded in holding his first solo exhibition at the leading gallery of the day, Macquarie Galleries, an amazing feat for a young art student.
Salvatore Zofrea has always surrounded himself with kindred spirits – collectors and curators, writers and poets, friends and relatives – all linked through their friendship with the artist. This is reflected in the collection of portraits that Salvatore refers to as a “journey through the emotional landscape of life.”
In contrast to the portraits are the lavish paintings from the artist’s ongoing Psalms series. Visually inspired by the poetic nature of the text from the Bible, Zofrea has pledged to paint each of the 150 Psalms. This ambitious project, started in 1976 when he was recovering from illness and contemplating his own mortality, is a contemporary interpretation. The works explore the artist’s rich, vibrant use of colour and dramatic imagery.
Salvatore Zofrea is an artist in love with paint. He has stayed loyal to his vision. The wealth of images and intellectual ideas, the love, pain, pleasure and excitement in the artwork of Salvatore Zofrea is an open passport to the human experience.
Curator: Barry Pearce