D. Dominick Lombardi - Fine Artist - Writer - Curator
The Cross-Contamination series began in 1998 with Whistling Bird, which was about how transgenic food combines animal DNA with plant DNA to make our super market fruits and vegetables more resistant to pests and rot. A dangerous practice as far as I am concerned as we do not totally know or understand the future consequences we must face with regard to our planet, our food and our bodies. Whistling Bird was one unique work, and as the series stalled so did my inspiration. Soon, my thoughts would move to a distant time to another series, the Post Apocalyptic Tattoo. As I worked on the Shift Paintings I again began thinking about Cross-Contamination, and how varied the concept could be encompassing everything from difficult and hard to understand material combinations and mixed metaphors to abrupt changes in the narrative with the passage of long spans of time. This series is a way of gathering the minutiae of my uncontrollable and often difficult to understand thoughts and making them into what I hope some will see as worthy of note.

    The works in this series attempt to reveal, at least in part, the sources, signs and suppositions of human behavior. The paths we take, the lives we lead and the decisions we make are born of many foundations both learned and innate. We see the tenets and intricacies of morality presented through familial teaching, the hard and fast laws of the land and the traditions of our various religions, yet in the end, we must decide for ourselves what is right and wrong for us.

    The wild card is the collective unconscious. This is the entity that Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell talk about as being the source of shared myths and symbols. I like to think I have two basic opportunities to make decisions in my life. One is within a social platform and the other is in the studio.

    Publically, there lies a set of norms and ethics that guides my behavior. Privately, in my studio, I prefer to delve into my unconscious with the hopes of finding a connection to an endless stream of ideas, dreams, emotions and realizations that knows no boundary of time. This is my personal freedom.

     Note: The CIA letter in this series was created to suggest a connection between the Collective Unconscious and MKUltra, or what is sometimes called the CIA’s mind control program. My thinking here, is that our innate ability to connect unconsciously with others from the past, present and future was and is both a threat and a curiosity for the powers that be from big business and to all governments, especially ours.

     Additionally, I consider the painted wood frames to be a part of the work. They are designed and made by me, and they are primarily comprised of recycled materials. In using recycled materials and by building the frames myself I am connecting myself to my father and grandfather in two distinct and important ways. First, both were carpenters by trade. Second, my first job, when I was around 12-15 years old, was as a carpenter’s helper working alongside my grandfather and father. My grandfather had a pretty tough life, especially during the depression, so he had a particularly strong understanding of the reuse or repurposing of materials. A good portion of the time I worked for him I would go through the wood from any and all demolitions. I was assigned to pull out and straighten all the nails from a daunting woodpile, banging the bent nails with a hammer against a rock to straighten them so they could be reused. After that, I proceeded to cut off with a handsaw all the decayed wood from the studs and floorboards so the ‘good’ or remaining wood could be stored for later use. Whenever I pass by a dumpster at a workshop I always pick out the ‘good’ wood for reuse and I always think of my grandfather, Dominick Lombardi.



 

Hampden Gallery, UMASS/Amherst, Amherst, MA

September 10, 2017

The Shift Paintings are works informed by a constant stream of unprompted thoughts and images that are adjusted and utilized by want and appeal. Some of the paintings have direct links to past masterworks, while others address more current cultural observations as I believe there is a definite link between all artists through the collective unconscious.

Urchins depict people and animals that live marginalized existences socially, economically, psychologically, and emotionally. The use of repurposed and discarded materials to create these sculptures enhances the ‘forgotten’ state of the street urchin.


The Graffoos combine the destructive/creative approach of graffiti with the esthetics of the tattoo. They consist of a linear design painted over a completed, sometimes abandoned painting, or on a redesigned photograph in the case of the archival pigment prints. This revisiting of the surface, which results in a uniting of opposing esthetics as one moment or thought, serves as a system of self and/or social analysis. Occasionally, older paintings, which could be anywhere from 20, 30 or 40 years old are cut up, rotated and recomposed adding one more facet to the breakdown of the pre-existing pictorial structure. All the Graffoos are unique, as they mark an end of one way of thinking and begin another path to an esthetic release.


Post Apocalyptic Tattoos are one view of the future, as filtered through the designs of a tattoo artist. The significant mutations seen in the anatomy of the various characters depicted are the result of centuries of exposure to transgenics in foods and various pollutants.

The Reverse Collages are a series of layered works whereby newspaper, book or magazine pages are adhered to wood panels or Plexiglas, then torn or eroded to reveal some or all of the underside text and images. The painted areas, which are most often geometric hard edge, are designed to place the simple layouts of the collage elements within a modern or contemporary esthetic.

The Vessel Series explores the many ways to define the term "vessel" in the abstract.

For most of my art career, I've tried to find a balance between my passion for so called low brow art and my awareness of established art world academics.
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