REGARDING HIGH+LOW: A FORTY-FIVE YEAR RETROPSECTIVE
"But how are two early 1900s European artistic movements, prevalent in Lombardi’s artistic practice, relevant to American culture in the latter half of the Twentieth Century and into the new millennium?"
"I believe that Dadaism and Surrealism may have been appreciated as foreign artistic movements, but they remained primarily irrelevant to American culture for several decades. The excess of the 1920s gave way to the Great Depression and then the Second World War. Following the defeat of Nazi Germany and Japan, the U.S. experienced tremendous economic growth and new found optimism. Concurrently, Abstract Expressionism was being aggressively promoted and exported by the U.S. government as a distinctly American art form. It wasn’t until the late 1960s and early 70s, following America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights Movement exposing the hypocrisy of freedom and equality, that American society possessed the skepticism and subversive edge to fully understand what these movements were about. The anti-war and pro civil rights youth culture of the period gave rise to new artistic movements that aligned with these rebellious philosophies. And while they may not have been directly connected, they shared a similar psychological baseline, and spawned artwork that resonated. Lombardi’s artistic output over the past forty-five years epitomizes a dichotomy within American culture. It aspires to the highest of artistic ideals, while mischievously expressing its distrust and disdain for established institutions."
Eric Nord, dart International Magazine, November 6, 2021
"High + Low: D. Dominick Lombardi Retrospective at the Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery in Colorado Springs, features 20 distinct chapters of Lombardi’s career, with artworks spanning nearly five decades. Curated by T. Michael Martin, Director of the Clara M. Eagle Gallery at Murray State University in Kentucky, the exhibition highlights the common thread throughout Lombardi’s work—an interest in blending qualities of highbrow and lowbrow art, through experimentation with various media. Lombardi’s life-long journey began with his exposure to modern art when he first saw a reproduction of Picasso’s Guernica (1939) at a very young age and continued with his introduction to the seductive world of Zap Comix in 1968."
Etty Yaniv, Art Spiel, November 8, 2021
"There are a number of larger currents to connect Lombardi’s career, which were already present in the early Cyborg series, where humanity has survived through the evolution and mechanization. Things like conspicuous consumption, pollution, and climate change show up in various ways throughout the exhibition in both his two and three dimensional works. For example, in the Need is Chance Rising (2015), Lombardi integrates found objects into an inventive tabletop sculpture. This simultaneously evokes humor and whimsy, but also unease. The detritus of a capitalist consumer society recycled out of necessity to create a monstrous, hybrid new figure. Like the cyborgs of his earlier series, his sculptural figures are ad hoc survivors."
Antje K. Gamble, dART International Magazine, January 2020
"High+Low, A Forty-Five Year Retrospective of the art of D. Dominick Lombardi, is a career survey organized and curated by T. Michael Martin for the Clara M. Eagle Gallery in Kentucky. The work featured begins with figurative art in the realm of science fiction dating back to the 1970s, before moving on to sculptures related to Pop Art and the Funk Art movement in the late 1980’s, and then to stickers and Appropriation Art in the 2000’s."
"There is a wide mix of media and type, including a large number of oil and acrylic paintings, mixed media sculptures (some kinetic) and a number of collages and works on paper. Seen as a whole, the exhibition reveals a diverse range of practices and subjects addressed in Lombardi’s oeuvre over a near half-century of this New York based artist."
Rupert Goldsworthy, Interview With D. Dominick Lombardi, Whitehot, 2019
Tracy Ross speaks with D. Dominick Lombardi about his career as a visual artist, writer, and art critic, as well as his upcoming retrospective exhibit at Murray State, WKMS Radio, NPR Station, September 13, 2019
REGARDING SAINTS, SINNERS AND THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS
"There are gods and monsters in each of us. One person’s hero is another person’s villain; as Joseph Campbell famously wrote, “You could be a local god, but for the people whom that local god conquered, you could be the enemy.” In the exhibition statement for “Saints, Sinners and the Collective Unconscious,” artist D. Dominick Lombardi wrote that his work is his “personal freedom.”
"Our collective history and, therefore, unconscious, is haunted by saviors and destroyers, imaginative human-made entities derived from external and internal emotions and conditions. Our conscious struggle to break free from a mutual and vague imprisonment defines the human animal. It is our cultural intellectuals and artists who assist us is processing the truth."
"Lombardi fuses humor and sadness to expose our gloriously tragic comic condition. The style is a "junkyard/salvaged" or "outsider" aesthetic that is appealing and approachable. The images are a strange synthesis of history, as if an innocent person attempting to understand human life pulls together artifacts and assembles them, idiosyccratically creating an off-beat personal mythos."
"The fluctuating duality between good and evil, a topic that needs to be continually reexamined, is especially relevant today."
J. Fatima Martins, UNIVERSITY SPOTLIGHT, D. DOMINICK LOMBARDI: SAINTS, SINNERS AND THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS, HAMPDEN GALLERY, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST, Artscope, August 29, 2017
"Saints, Sinners, and the Collective Unconscious is riveting. Mr. Lombardi is an artist with an intimate understanding of history in regard to religion and popular culture. After careful viewing of the 30 works in the exhibition, I was compelled to research the titles of the works because they seemed to hold the key to unlocking Lombardi’s intentions. I focused on the works in the Saints section of the exhibition because I found their cryptic iconography most intriguing. The research of the saints depicted in Lombardi’s work opened up a new route for me to access the works’ meaning."
Matt Oliver, When the Saints (and Sinners) Go Marching In, culturecatch.com, September 29, 2017
"Religious references, pop culture imagery, and vintage elements unite in a cryptic gestalt that touches a nostalgic nerve. Collectively, the works in the exhibition exude a retro vibe paired with a futuristic sensibility."
Anne LaPrade Seuthe, Director, and Sally Curcio, Gallery Manager, Hampden Gallery, University of Massachusetts, catalogue essay
REGARDING SHIFT PAINTINGS
"Lombardi’s Call of Nature (2015), a trip scene of a one-eyed tree and a deer..."
Bradley Rubenstein, High Anxiety, culturecatch.com, January 14, 2016
"D. Dominick Lombardi’s painting is another surreal vision of humans united with trees. In Call of Nature,(2015) a large upraised eye dominates a fragmented, dead tree stump next to a deer who is balanced in the ungainly act of either approaching the tree or lurching away, or both. While appearing comically monstrous, there is nothing very funny about this claustrophobic rock-filled barren world, the deer itself seeming to symbolize the precarious position of living in a world that is virtually upside down."
Jeanne Wilkinson, New York’s Lesley Heller Workspace, ‘Shaky Ground’: Seeing Nature in New Ways, ARTES magazine, February 4, 2016.
"Lombardi’s “Sacco and Vanzetti” is another surreal depiction of the famous men who were wrongly executed for murder in 1927. Their faces are appropriately discolored like corpses, floating above a rough sea. Lightning runs throughout the background, reminiscent of their execution method, the electric chair."
John Paul Stapleton, Portraits Take It From The Top, artscope, November/December, 2015.
"Equally colorful, curator, D. Dominique Lombardi, has entered himself into the mix with a piece of thought-provoking political satire, in the painting “Sacco and Vanzetti.” Surely influenced by Pawel, Lombardi places pungent objects and smart wording amongst the heads of the two infamously persecuted anarchists. Conjuring lyrics of Woody Guthrie, but offering a fresh look at a timeless story, the painting is ripe with intoxicating blues, greens, and a coral-esque background ignite with a circulating grid of orange. The work boosts the idea that the head can personify an idea, not just an individual."
"Lombardi's show is a complete buffet for the eyes, offering to stimulate the pallet of many an art enthusiast. The diversity of the pieces come together nicely to strengthen the idea that the head is as limitless a symbol, as it is to us a tool."
Jillian Burkett, A Head is not a Head, culturecatch.com, Octorber 20, 2015
"Lombardi’s painting, "The Conjurer" (2014), updates this style. His surreal, loopy style of figuration feels much more contemporary. Dana Schutz and David Humphrey have explored similar themes, but Lombardi’s more modest scale and genuine appreciation of illustrators like R. Crumb lends his work a sinister twist that remains with the viewer longer."
Bradley Rubenstein, Tangled Up in Blue, culturecatch.com, January 13, 2015
"Lombardi's new pieces are sand figures of young girls partly composed of plastic toys that echo De Chirico's totemic figures of the 1920's but in a post-Manga manner. One sand girl (image left) with strangely tapered holes in her body stood out as the most radical invention. Curiously, these figures reminded me of the narrative tableaux by Isa Gensken at her long-overdue retrospective at MOMA; like Genzken's use of plastic toy figures to create a scene, Lombardi's figures have about them the quality of a model for a large scale sculpture. The more I looked, the more I felt as I did beforeGenzken's miniature tableaux; I wanted to see them life size or larger and in a tableaux format to rival Genzken's narrative concerns."
David Carbone, Holiday in the Sun...or on Mars!, culturecatch.com, January 8, 2014
"D. Dominick Lombardi’s sculptures depict the head more as an open-ended receptacle than a symbol in and of itself."
Jamie Martinez, HEAD Curated by Robert Curcio and D. Dominick Lombardi, ARTE FUSE, August 12th, 2013
"In addition to curating the show, Lombardi contributes to the conversation by including a selection of his Urchinsculptures. Reminiscent of baby dolls, the sculpted sand, childlike bodies are composed of found objects from the seashore that make up parts of these creatures’ bodies and personalities. Urchin #36 is perched atop a paddock fence enjoying an imagined bucolic view. The urchin’s eye is a kaleidoscope lens and the head contains more mechanical, gadgety pieces. According to Lombardi, “The Urchin series depicts people and animals marginalized socially, economically, psychologically, and emotionally by the current downtrends in our global economy.” Lombardi brings into play the duality of nature and nurture and how our environment affects both our inner and outer vision."
Michelina Docimo, Housatonic Museum of Art Exhibitis 'Eye on the Storm,' ARTES Magazine, July 26th, 2013
"...an independent curator, who enjoys the challenge of putting together art exhibitions that explore contemporary concerns."
Phyllis A. S. Boros, ctpost.com, June 17, 2013
"D. Dominick Lombardi's "Urchin 48" is another child as a strange, composite being -- one of his ongoing series of boys born out of the detritus of the everyday. A plastic belt, a bottle, tchotchkes, and a toy all emerge from the sand-covered figure sitting stiff-legged on a mirror, with its face contracted into a grimace."
John Mendelsohn, HEAD at BOSI Contemporary, culturecatch.com, July 14, 2013
"Dominick Lombardi's Urchins are made up of sand, childhood relics, books, and other found materials. As these "sand dogs" (above: "Urchin #31") have pieces coming out, chunks missing, and metal limbs, I surmise dogs are the most nostalgic thing in our culture, and the concept of the child and the beloved dog can tap into our collective timeless memory banks. Beside one dog, an exploratory, escapist tone was set by one pile of books including Carlos Castaneda, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and topped by Down These Mean Streets."
Alison B. Levy, "Fuzzy Memory," culturecatch.com, July 25th, 2011
"God stuck his finger in the earth and created Life. Lombardi's creatures, with their oversize heads and features, exude a comic air, though one filled with pathos. Their synthetic covering reminds us of the Replicants from Blade Runner, our still-mortal equivalents in the film’s future. "More Human than Human" was the Nexus company motto, and in "Urchin #6" (2009) Lombardi portrays a creature slumping with elbows on knees, lost in thought; though he sits atop a book, this being was created without eyes. A remarkably poignant piece; he resembles us, yet we cannot completely identify with him, or speculate on his world. Not blind, but eyeless -- is his world darker than our seeing one, or has he, like the Nexus Six Replicant Roy (Rutger Hauer) evolved further? That might be the point of Lombardi's work, as well as the exhibition. In a world comprised of millions of individual stories, when seen from another, farther, vantage point, they blur into oblivion. Or, as Roy says in the film, "All of these moments, will be lost in time. Like tears, in the rain.""
Bradley Rubenstein, "Crowds," culturecatch.com, December 16, 2010.
"Lombardi gives significance to the insignificant and focuses on how important our childhood memories affect our identity as adults and the relationships we form with others."
Michelina Docimo, "Holding on and Letting Go: A Collection of Memory at the Westport Arts Center," culturecatch.com, November 23, 2010
"Exquisitely assembled, these works demand close attention. Their focus on the visual shows that there is an alternative to the monstrous materialism that has more or less taken over the world. This alternative consists of a steady regard for the processes of creativity, maintained despite a wide-spread lack of interest in, and even contempt for the imagination. Lombardi's message is clear, and imperialism is the culprit."
Jonathan Goodman, Amherst Massachusetts, D. Dominick Lombardi, Central Gallery, Sculpture magazine, November, 2010
"The Urchins as Sculptures are noble, poignant, and Apollonian, representing stoical monuments that reveal secret inner lives consisting of books and toys from an outmoded and obsolescent past. The objects themselves are the only color in the works, and they reveal as much about how we build our nature—accruing types of knowledge, and mythically playing out modes of experience. The Urchins as Drawings/Collages are Dionysian, taking on a much more dramatic role in and of themselves, they are given white eyes with no pupils, and are given clothing and props, to suggest that they belong to a marginalized community of onlookers or victims within the larger sphere of culture. Their gestures and poses are marked by deeply psychological expressions of trepidation and terror. They are the only active figures in a landscape that is filled to obscurity with flowing, spectral trails that have as heads the appearance of various figures in media and daily life which, in any one particular decade, symbolized versions of human nature, either good, bad, or indifferent. The urchins themselves are an everyman figure, lost in a world of populistic reference which is too vast and too aggressively filling up his attention span. The world of culture is supposedly a sphere of influence meant to be positive, but when placed in the wrong hands, it can operate like a gun—not protect, but damage us. Too much culture, especially when it is immediately overrunning the bounds of individuality and at the same time reaching a tipping point of contemporary relevance, ceases to be culture, and becomes nature."
David Gibson, Curator's Essay, Hidden Worlds
Central Gallery, University of Massachusetts Amherst 2010
“D. Dominick Lombardi's sandy surfaced scamps reveal all and hide nothing. They are, after all, sculptures intended to be viewed in the round. From every vantage point their smooth plastic innards make themselves known, while their crusty skin serves as a foil to the panoply of detritus."
"Lombardi's materials are the message of this dicey figurative work. It's all texture, color, and gestural hi-jinks at first glance. At once, Lombardi’s figures draw us in with their formal delights, charm us with their familiar plastic leftovers, disarm us with their rounded limbs and cherubic grins and then, without warning, it is as if these scamps slide up and whisper in our ear that perhaps we just may be fiddling while Rome burns /(or /is buried in an insurmountable mountain of consumer cast-offs).”
Anne LaPrade Seuthe, Director, Hampden and Central Galleries Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts 2010
REGARDING GRAFFOOS, URCHINS AND DIGITAL PRINTS
"Lombardi’s new sand-coated sculptures... send a message to a consumer culture defined by wasteful consumption. On the sandy side, the sculptures depict small gnome-like boys with Mayan features and mournful expressions, who testify to the wrong-thinking cultural practices of littering that despoils the beauty of the environment, natural and man-made. The emotional expression of one side of the sand figures contrasts with the compilation of plastic leftovers that comprise the exposed internal content. These compelling sculptures reinforce the possibilities for increased emphasis on recycling, an assertion whose time has come in an era of growing joblessness. It is an alarming truth that when we throw used objects “out,” they are merely dumped into our environment. They do not disintegrate but remain intact for years; they don’t miraculously evaporate. By being placed on low stands, the sculptures literally become more vulnerable to damage by gallery visitors. Their imploring expressions seem to beg for understanding; we are perhaps meant to realize that nothing disappears in nature; it is merely recreated in renewed forms."
Mary Hrbacek, Tatooed Tokyo by Dominick Lombardi: Lombardi paints glimpses of offbeat imagery that project a kind of back street appeal, NY ART BEAT, January, 2010
"For the majority of his career Lombardi has blended the concerns and methods of Pop, Conceptual, and appropriation art with craft-making and popular culture to create his own unique iconography, often controversial and always engaging. His work explores contemporary obsessions with everything from sex and desire, race and gender, and celebrity, media, and commerce...The urchin sculptures are composed mostly of sand and acrylic medium, built on an armature of recycled objects, which continues the artist’s obsession with reusing discarded materials as part of the art-making process. Using the language and imagery of the all-pervasive American consumer culture he grew up in, his work distorts and mutates the familiar into the disturbing and almost carnivalesque...Lombardi's artworks rarely inspire moderate responses, and this is one signal of the importance of his achievement. Focusing on some of the most unexpected objects as models for his work, Lombardi eschews typical standards of high art and zeroes in rather precisely on the vulnerabilities of hierarchies and value systems. Much of his art has a delirious, hallucinatory air, as if the artist were trying to transcend both the naïveté of junk feeling and the sophistication of the art world. Lombardi has created his own brand of kitsch...Lombardi is a razzle-dazzle impresario of the kitsch object, an explorer of clichéd roles and social disguises. His approach to the kitschy illustrates the characteristic strengths—and, at times, the principal weakness—of this tradition. In his best art, Lombardi does something riskier and more paradoxical, entering the spirit of kitsch as if to know it from the inside. He retains, in such work, something youthful or childlike. Powerful, even angry sensations of lost innocence—something not usually attributed to hip and knowing postmodernists—shape the work of Lombardi."
Lauren Kaufman, "Re-digesting Kitsch," NYARTSmagazine, April 2009.
"D. Dominick Lombardi’s recent show at Artlexis in Brooklyn, “Toyota vs. Godzilla,” is a bit of a departure. For ten years he has worked on his Post Apocalyptic Tattoo series in which our deformed descendents inhabit a world where physical beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even if the eye is not quite lodged in the skull as it should be... The new collection of works consists of eight small paintings on canvas, two Giclée digital prints and three “Urchin” sculptures that are the more evolved offspring (artistically) of his signature “Beachcomber” character, a horribly deformed but recognizably human figure who has found his form in both paintings and sculptures."
"The urchins are much cuter and are made of a sand and polymer mixture over an armature of plastic toys and post-industrial flotsam, some of which is actually culled from beaches. The plastic objects emerge proudly from the back of the figures. Possibly the handiwork of future beachgoers, these sand sculptures seem to be a nostalgic reference to a past where children were merely orphaned by the unraveling of our world and genetic mutation had yet to manifest itself in the population. These figures are adorable and crafted lovingly. Set on low white pedestals and each standing on a flea market tome, like “Fun with String” or similar books for children, they are both creepy and endearing."
"The book bases add another level both figuratively and literally to each work. The new paintings are also a step forward. In this iteration, his paintings are contemporary scenes “tattooed” with the future. The underpaintings reflect Lombardi’s recent trip to Japan and Korea, and the night scenes of noodle shops and street life are softly rendered in acrylic washes and then emblazoned with a hard-edged tattoo image. The contrast is welcome and enlivening. The contemporary Japanese urban landscape gives Lombardi a healthy perspective on his own time. This pre-Blade Runner world grounds us in the present and the tattoos place us in his imagined future, looking back at this merely out-of-balance society."
"There is compassion in these works as in much of what Lombardi does. The soft palette of both these paintings and the prints convey the sensitivity of the man. These are not harsh indictments, but are nostalgic reflections on the dysfunctional present, which is not nearly as grotesque as he imagines the future is going to be."
Stanford Kay, "Nostalgia for the Present," d'ART International, Spring/Fall 2009
“These “Graphoos” (Lombardi’s term for his graffiti + tattoo hybrid stylizations) are immaculately rendered black or red graphics (I thought they were silk screened) in contrast to the blurry brushwork of the overall scenes."
"The three sculptures all portray the same barefooted obnoxious little scamp posing beatifically with a “Who, me? I’m so innocent and cute” countenance. This repulsively endearing troll (“mischievous urchin,” the artist calls him) is composed of sand mixed with acrylic applied over armatures of colorful plastic toys - which is revealed in the back where they are not coated with the sand mix. The three figures stand on books on low pedestals, which enhances their vulnerable narrative."
"The most impressive works are the two digital prints. These collaborations between the artist and Artlexis look like multi-layered lithography and silkscreen prints… D Dominick Lombardi mixes cultures and perspectives to create his real life serial that ranges in and out of abstraction and good-natured travelogue.”
Christopher Hart Chambers, "Hot Tattoos on Graphics Action at Brooklyn Gallery," culturecatch.com, March 20, 2009
REGARDING GRAFFOO AND POST APOCALYPTIC TATTOO
"On the Cusp features ten Los Angeles-based artists working with a mixture of painting, drawing, and digital media, while exploring areas of hybridization within the genres of figuration and abstraction. These areas of hybridization include artworks that fall on the cusp between the “high” art of modernism and “low” culture of cartoons or other mass-media sources, or modeled after folk or traditional culture such as tarot playing cards. The exhibition includes works that are humorous, mysterious, and sly, taking advantage of the overlap and even contradictions among these stylistic approaches.From D. Dominick Lombardi’s thick black line drawings of post-apocalyptic tattoo heads to Dan Goodsell’s hand-painted comic-strip depictions of the lighthearted antics of Mr. Toast and his cast of friends, as guest curator John David O’Brien suggests, “This exhibition reminds us to be open-ended about how art is created.” "
John David O'Brien, "From Comic Books to Fruit Canning: Artists Draw Upon Diverse Influences in New Exhibitions at Los Angeles International Airport" Los Angeles World Airports News Release, May 12, 2015
“Imaginary stories, where fantastic creatures inhabit their own worlds and follow their own laws, are also a thread through many of the works. Since 1998 D. Dominick Lombardi has been developing an elaborate narrative — the Post Apocalyptic Tattoo Series — that focuses on fictional characters: mutants that have survived a great cataclysm. His colorful, abstracted shapes painted in reverse on Plexiglas, represent shrunken heads (a highly sought after memorial in this case) created by one of the characters, Johnny Two-Heads. Lombardi’s project grew out of doodles in a sketchbook and an anxiety over the fate of the universe.”
Susan Hoeltzel and Yuneikys Villalonga, “Under the Influence: The Comic” exhibition essay, Lehman College Art Gallery, February 7, 2012
"D. Dominick Lombardi paints a damaged world. The fact that this world is a fictive invention makes it nonetheless ruined. Mutant beings, melted, twisted and hydrocephalic, populate this domain. Dominated by flat, slightly retro colors, painted in reverse behind lightly sanded plexiglas, Lombardi's world is a place where identity is everything: who you are is defined by your personal damage and the role it creates for you in a network of relationships."
"If this sounds like our world, it is because Lombardi's art is a grotesque vision of not only the post-apocalyptic, but a satire and an embrace of impairment and survival. In style, his creatures are genetic cousins to comic book characters, with black outlines, uninflected hues and a part in larger narrative. Replete with monarchs, aggressors and victims, a band of heroes, and the unseen creator of a fallen world, Lombardi echos the myth-making impulse that has been a perennial in comic books and video games."
John Mendelsohn, d'ART magazine, Fall/Winter 2009
“While the style of these post-apocalyptic tattoos lends itself to a type of primal reading, the visual forms become something else -- in effect, painting and sculpture. When I see the 3-D pieces, I think of Sci-Fi Dada Hans Arp, and when I see the rambling curlicue lines on the faces of Lombardi's 2-D Romanesque imps, pulsating with electric sadistic color, I scream out loud -- "Mother, May I?"; In fact, the artist's comic book signature is ever-present throughout the show. His characters are pervasive, demonic, and absurdly funny. Somehow they remind me of the Beat generation -- of William Seward Burroughs and Gregory Corso, if only these guys had Photo Shop to play with."
"Probably somewhere down deep in our Collective Unconscious, seething to come out is the secular truth of these characters, wedged between Plato's Republic and Freud's polymorphous perversity! I think that's what D. Dominick Lombardi means, if he means anything at all. I think he does. And he's driven to make us laugh, especially at our most unsuspecting fears, just when we think we're on top of it.”
Robert C. Morgan, WHITEHOT, December 2009
“Dominick’s works show severely damaged characters who have survived a horrific environmental apocalypse,” said Robbin Zella, director of Housatonic Museum of Art (HMA). “His dark vision certainly asks us to stop and reflect on his message."
“The project is rooted in Lombardi’s concern about the fate of the planet,” continued Ms Zella. “His work, as he says, is about #128;#152;where we’re headed as a species in this world in which humans are guinea pigs in a larger experiment and grab for power and money run by sinister enterprises. Indeed, they are victims of a slow apocalypse, being altered by degrees over time.”
Shannon Hicks, “Dominick Lombardi’s Dark Visions on View at Housatonic Museum of Art,” The Newtown Bee, October 2, 2009.
"To say that the latest exhibit at Florida Atlantic University's Schmidt Gallery is overwhelming is the understatement of the year. To step into the gallery space is to enter a vortex full of theological-scientific collisions, perplexing non-sequiturs and arcane mixed-media fusions that employ 22 feet of wall space on four sides. There is neither a clear starting point nor an obvious endpoint in the show's imposing roof-to-floor totality. Images from two artists -- New York-based Michael Zansky and D. Dominick Lombardi -- dominate the majority of the show, but other artists are sprinkled in using media as varied as photography, digital art, video and installation."
John Thomason, "FAU exhibits perplexing design," February 11, 2009
"In his sculpture “Beachcomber” (sand, acrylic, medium and objects), D. Dominick Lombardi employs the simple forms and contours found in videogame figures. He uses sand, the quintessential artistic medium of symbolic impermanence to convey the passage of time. Sand ignites childhood memories of castles dissolving in the ocean’s tide. Lombardi keeps one side of his sculpture intact, while the exposed side reveals painted blue plastic cleanser bottles, children’s forgotten toys and broken shells that mirror the color of water and sky. The piece stresses the uncomfortable fact that our commercial culture focuses on mundane material things that pollute the environment as well as the spirit. They are not biodegradable. The intact sand “gun” implies that such priorities dehumanize us, killing spiritual values."
"D. Dominick Lombardi's drawings and sculptures create imaginary mutations in which incongruous components are forced together and familiar icons are warped beyond recognition."
Michael Wilson, "Apocalyptic Pop," Time Out New York, January 15-21, 2009
"The times we live in are ominous and deeply disturbing to anyone who is paying attention and not totally distracted by the problems of celebrities, shopping, and reality TV....
D. Dominick Lombardi's sculptures, drawings and tattoos all tell a post-apocalyptic tale with an elaborate cast of characters who have survived a globe-shaking environmental disaster. These denizens of the future have evolved in reaction to a poisonous world where the average life expectancy is 20 years. Some of these creatures such as Boy With Clubbed Foot (Potato Eyes) and Whistling Bird are also the result of genetic engineering where food and animal DNA have combined and gone horribly wrong. Lombardi's blue bird has been crossbred with a laundry container to make it a cleaner, flightless and more perfect pet, His characters inhabit a kind of Dystopian Disneyland where everyone is misshapen and grotesque but somehow still cheerful. His Post-Apocalyptic Tattoo series is filled with extruded brains, rubbery forms, thing-blobs, zombie clowns, and hideous mutants, all executed in old-school comic style. Lombardi says his work is about 'where we're headed as a species in this world in which humans are guinea pigs in a larger experiment and grab for power and money run by sinister enterprises.'"
Kathleen Goncharov, APOCALYPTIC POP, Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, catalog essay, November, 2008.
"Featured were seventy-five works by eight artists, all of whom have contributed significantly to the world of tattoo. Included were D. Dominick Lombardi, whose series of India-ink, post-apocalyptic tattoos has been exhibited in galleries across the country, Pittsburgh's Nick Bubash, a professional tattooist since 1972 (his paintings and assemblages look like three dimensional tattoos) and, of course, the godfather of modern tattoo himself, Don Ed Hardy,"
Matty Jankowski, "Skin City - The Art of the Tattoo," Skin & Ink, October 2008, Page 9-12.
"This exhibit of zany doomsday visions also includes D. Dominick Lombardi's diseased cartoon figures, Chitra Ganesh's gonzo interpretations of myths, Michael Zansky's Surrealist photographic nightmares, and Laura Parnes's video montages of TV catastrophe."
Robert Shuster, Fall Preview: Apocalyptic POP, The Village Voice, September 3, 2008
"...Lombardi destroys and paints like a graffiti artist, causing confusion and disarray. His Tattooed Warriors, a work that shows overlapping bold colors, characters, and tattoo imagery, is reflective of the futile act of war."
Anita Tan, Bóm: Art Can Disrupt, Destry, or Reorient, NYARTSmagazine, September/Otober 2008
"The Post Apocalyptic Tattoo: A Ten Year Survey is a history of post-modern angst directed from the point of view of a tattoo artist. One of the intriguing things about this show is that the artist D. Dominick Lombardi claims to be a “vehicle for the Tattoo Artist” who “sends” the images. Lombardi in fact denies being a tattoo artist. This brings up several interesting questions concerning identity in the would-be post apocalyptic world."
"The central question is, how does one maintain identity in the face of such a trauma as the end of the world? No one can provide a definitive answer, of course, as the world has not ended (yet). Lombardi, however, undergoes an ironic subversion of his identity in order to provide an answer: as a receptacle of the tattoo artist, his own aesthetics seem to be secondary. The identity question is further muddled by the fact that a tattoo artist’s aesthetic considerations are by and large dictated by the whims of his customers. The format of the exhibit itself is similar to the interior of a tattoo parlor; littered with individual images posted in a fashion as if to encourage the choosing of one."
"But to display this project as a tattoo parlor would be an oversimplification and would only serve to obscure the chronological and processional nature of the Post Apocalyptic Tattoo."
W. Michael Johnson, San Antonio Report: The Post Apocalyptic Tattoo: A Ten-Year Survey, NYARTSmagazine, July/August 2008
"The exhibition (The Post Apocalyptic Tattoo: A Ten Year Survey of the Art of D. Dominick Lombardi) was a combination of drawings and paintings hung clutter salon-style with the imagined future evolution of man divided into eras and ages of degeneration. It brought to mind by way of contrast, Soylent Green, the film about the 1973 Harry Harrison novel Make Room! Make Room! Back then it was over-population and world's failure to feed itself. For the past few decades fears have shifted to the environment with a gradual bias to an emphasis on global warming. Of course in the 70's the coming calamity was to be the earth's cooling. In The Time Machine, H.G. Wells predicted that the air raid siren would persist for tens of thousands of years, well after literacy had ceased. I was heartened by Lombardi's prediction that in a distant future, clowns may die, but will mercifully continue to amuse."
Steve Rockwell, San Antonio's Luminaria: A procession of the Arts and Cultural Enlightenment, dArt International, Spring/Summer 2008
"Artist D. Dominick Lombardi drives art into the future with Heads (Post Apocalyptic Tattoo Series), showing where one day the human condition may land, as our forms mutate over time in both 2D and 3D."
Kat Hennessy, Singularity in the Communal Tide, Gallery Pierro in South Orange New Jersey, dArt International, Spring/Summer 2008
"We’re not too sure how Blue Star got voted Most Likely “Street-Art” Target (unless you weigh in D. Dominick Lombardi’s recently closed show), but we’ll take it with a grain of salt. Blue Star has consistently brought in superb art, whether it’s inside or out of the premises."
"Curator Carol Kino, a contributing editor for Art & Auction who also writes for the New York Times, foregoes the traditional, linear exhibit installation by allowing Lombardi's work to sprawl throughout the space from floor to ceiling, as if the artist's brainstorm has left a tornado track of debris splattered around the gallery. "This is the first time the whole story has been told," Kino said. "I didn't think it would work as a straight installation. I wanted people to see what goes on inside an artist's brain."
While grotesque, Lombardi's characters are oddly charming. Rather than doom and gloom, the show has a kind of goofy humor that permits the characters to be funny as well as appalling. But wandering through this artist's imagination, the future, instead of bright, looks more like blight."
Dan R. Goddard, Grotesquely charming mutants are artist's glimpse into the future, San Antonio Express, February, 2008
“Master of all that is creative, D. Dominick Lombardi's show at Blue Star will leave patrons in awe. Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure of watching D. Dominick Lombardi's work being installed for his show over at Blue Star — The Post Apocalyptic Tattoo: A ten year survey. It was as if I walked into a comic book.”
“Is it too bold of me to state that this show will probably be one of the best to hit the local gallery circuit this year? Oh well, I'm already putting it on my Best of '08 list.”
Jennifer Herrera, A little tattoo-art love, San Antonio Current, CURBLOG, Feb, 2008
Creatively, the project was born as Lombardi was worrying about the fate of the universe. Its mutant creatures embody his fears and hopes for a future world, distorted by pollution, transgenic mutation, and apocalyptic events. The include Blue Boy, whose innards spill down his legs; his sweetheart, Twister, who has rubbery bones and turquoise lips; Big Foot, who perambulates on a single massive foot; and Clown, who dies early on from an enlarged hair follicle on his tongue. Central to the tale is the unseen Tattoo artist, a character who chronicles his world by producing all the drawings, paintings and sculptures. (Is Lombardi the Tattoo Artist? “no,” he says. “I’m the vehicle for the Tattoo Artist who’s sending these images to me.”)
Carol Kino, Curatorial Essay, D. Dominick Lombardi, The Post Apocalyptic Tattoo: A Ten Year Survey, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, San Antonio, TX, January 31 – March 23, 2008
"Viewers are drawn to the abstract heads looking for identifiable features; a nose here, an eye there, a shock of misplaced hair, but there is something about the elegant line that softens the grotesqueness. Lombardi infuses his post apocalyptic characters with inner strength as they face their predicament with courage"
Amanda Cooper, Skin City: The Art of the Tattoo, The Arts Center, St. Petersburg, FL, catalog essay, October, 2007
“The most appealing are his new works with tattoo imagery in the foreground of an otherwise more formal painting. Lombardi is doing something new with an old-fashioned vex, searching for the sublime and finding line.”
Elizabeth Stevens, Van Brunt Gallery, culturecatch.com, June, 2007
“D. Dominick Lombardi is both an artist and a writer. He is a kind and generous person and so it is a bit surprising that his art depicts a dark vision ... The bleakness of this vision is softened somewhat by the brightly colored cartoon-like style of the figures and the beauty and care with which they have been rendered.”
Staff Writer, Stanford Kay, D. Dominick Lombardi And Stephen Niccolls At Van Brunt Gallery, The Putnam County News and Recorder, April 2007
Top Ten Miami Beach - Gae Savannah
9) D. Dominick Lombardi’s graphic pattern drawings at Aqua, (Lisa Boyle Gallery) and intriguing tattoo-based works at –scope (Kasia Kay.)
Gae Savannah, Notes from Miami, Basel, NYARTSmagazine, January/February 2007
“In what can only be called an alchemical mode of painting, D. Dominick Lombardi has learned how to tattoo landscapes, and he shows us this trick over mountain ranges of peacock feathers and energy. In this arresting series, Lombardi superimposes jet-black slices of swiss cheese, tribal body art and snatches of cuneiform language over his previous work in a composition that might have been lifted from the fuse-box of a flying saucer.”
James Hilger, Groovy, Tag Magazine, September, 2006 & NYARTSmagazine, November/December 2006
"NY Arts' own D. Dominick Lombardi's "Post Apocalyptic Tattoos" grace the cover, more specifically Heads #601-700. Lombardi's style is a graffiti-ish turn of mutated surrealism. His bulbous forms seem boiled or made of clay, with a texture that piles on the page. If it weren't for the adjoining poems/narratives, one might think the characters exist in a darker realm, one of decay and nuclear radiation sickness-perhaps the "post apocalyptic" tag. He contributes three poem pieces: "Hercules and Digitus," "Boy with a Clubbed Foot (Potato Eyes)" and "Blue Boy at Ground Zero." The poems are a unique way to tell the story, line by line giving life to the character drawn beside it."
Steven Psyllos, Blurred Vision: New Narrative Art, NYARTSmagazine, July/August, 2006
"Imagine 500 years into the future where humans and toxic waste mingle and coalesce. A time when the biosphere is chock full of pollutants and severe contaminants and mankind has devolved into a noxious mix of skin, bacteria, tumors, and abnormal growths. D. Dominick Lombardi reverse paints this scenario with an array of colorfully strange and exceedingly disfigure characters."
Bucky Turco, Post Apocalyptic Tattoos: D. Dominick Lombardi, Animal, Issue 6, 2006
“D. Dominick Lombardi has woven a post-apocalyptic tale with an elaborate cast of characters. He says the underlying thread of this tale is his concern for the environment and how we are all guinea pigs in a larger experiment for power and money. But the elegiac beauty of the portraits, painted in a rich acrylic palette on Plexiglas such as “The King” and “Twister,” overshadows the lean prose. The nature of the narrative, as well ae the physical act of painting behind Plexiglas, creates distance and alienation, possibly the real theme of lombardi’s work.”
Germaine Keller, The Artist’s Lament, Zing magazine, March, 2006
"As part of our on-going quest to get you and ourselves sneak peeks at upcoming books before they're available in stores, we bring you the new anthology Blurred Vision. This book caught our eye immediately with a gorgeous D. Dominick Lombardi cover (part of the "Post Apocalyptic Tattoo Series"), and a list of cutting edge contributors whose work impresses. This is definitely a new publisher we're going to be keeping our eye on."
"His use of vivid colors attracts attention. His mysterious lines add a humorous air to his work... His work is full of magic and mystery that is well balanced throughout the exhibit, including his black and white pieces. This is D. Dominick Lombardi's solo show.
In recent years, his art has been featured in many newspapers and magazines. (His latest is on the cover of this magazine)... When talking about his work, he gives the appearance of a young boy and a Buddhist priest. Lombardi's work is very unique."
Hide Maegawa, The New York Gaho (Art and New York), (translated from Japanese), No.1, 2006
“Describing the paintings in Mr. Lombardi’s “Post Apocalyptic Tattoo” collection is a little like imagining what might happen if an artist in the old Disney style of classical animation survived a nuclear holocaust and opened a tattoo parlor. The human anatomy is twisted, sometimes distorted out of recognition, and yet the line work is consistently crisp and often whimsical, while the colors are flat and tonal. On the whole, the work seems to evoke popular cultural references from both the golden age of design, and, if possible, its future.”
Douglas Michael, The Tao of Tattoos, The Record Review, January 6, 2006
“Lombardi’s characters resemble futuristic blobs with eyes and noses, but they also have a charming Mutt’n’Jeff old school-comics feel to them. In part, that’s because Lombardi hand-draws their lines, even though at first glance it look as if a computer was involved. He has also made smooth, amorphous white sculptures suggesting a Noguchi-Roxy Paine hybrid. They, too, are deceptive, having been actually built up out of acrylic paint. Such formal tricks are as compelling as the idea that the portraits are self-affirmations for apocalypse survivors. Lombardi’s odd creatures don’t need the back story: they stand on their own.”
Carly Burwick, Reviews: New York, ARTnews, October 2005.
“Dominick Lombardi is an investigator of the unconscious. In his work, it is as if nothing has been left to chance. Surfaces roughened by the vigour of the brush, seeping gradations of colour, or the irregular shadows and sense of substance from piled up material – he doesn’t make use of any of these elements which are essential to the unconscious interventions in the picture. So, using completely unconscious methods, he constructs the shape of the unconscious. He has serene eyes and the hands of a craftsman. Strangely enough, it is with nostalgia that I remember the particularly flat paintings of this unique artist. The drawings are on smooth, stiff paper, painted with a pure black which leaves no trace of brushstrokes, but the seemingly torn-off edges and the (what seem like) faces that appear there make me think of ‘Ukiyo-e’ and, in particular, the artist ‘Sharaku’ and his famous series ‘ Okubi-e,’ meaning big head in Japanese consisting of portraits of Kabuki actors.”
Rieko Fujinami, Transcending the realm of the unconscious and the strange stories it tells, Poetry and Thought, No.227, Vol. 3 (translated from Japanese), 2005
“Whether Lombardi’s figures are conveyed as drawings, paintings or sculpture they rely heavily on line whose power lies in its running flow and fluid curve. Lombardi’s mutant forms seem to roll into themselves like brain convolutions combining into creatures whose appearance ranges from somewhat recognizable humans to flat script designs. As post-apocalyptic survivors in their evolutionary process they’ve needed to speciate in order to survive their polluted environment to become new forms that in their multi-variance and strength serve as compelling tributes to humanity.”
“The best works in his latest exhibition, “The Post Apocalyptic Tattoo,” are the drawings from the vast Head-series, each using India ink to form thick, dynamic lines that push and pull into various gestures. These heads are not recognizable as faces - they are crazy, strained knots on the verge of unraveling.”
Jill Conner, Signs of the Post-Apocalypse, NYARTSmagazine, July/August 2005
“D. Dominick Lombardi takes the organic notion in a dark direction in the gorgeous ink-on-paper drawings “Heads (series of 1,000),” a transformation into thick, dense, curving calligraphy of what mutant survivors of an environmental disaster might look like. The flat, stark tattoo/comic book influence is obvious, but Lombardi’s abstract “mutant” designs turn out to be remarkably beautiful.
Fredric Koeppel, See Reflections of Who Wears the Art in Inked!, commercialappeal.com, November, 2005
“What's curious is how sunny the apocalypse seems here. Lombardi's end of the world is staged with a kind of sitcom cheerfulness, a feeling that is furthered by the styles he chooses to employ. His paintings -- usually executed by applying paint to the back of Plexiglas -- resemble animation cells, with large, flat patches of color standing as backgrounds for his awkward, twisted creatures. His sketches and ink drawings illustrate misshapen faces in the stripped-down, linear style of tattoo art. And his sculptures – made by a process in which the artist builds up layers of acrylic paint that he then sculpts – blow up the physiognomy of these faces in a style and scale that makes them resemble models for attractions at a dystopian Disneyland.”
Ben Davis, A Future Present, artnet.com, June 7, 2005
“The imaginary characters of D. Dominick Lombardi’s post-apocalyptic world oscillate between metaphor (Heaven and Hell), stereotype (Exotic Dancer, Clown), and the allegorical promise of a better world in which men have lost the capacity for destruction through self destruction. In this world, his character’s need for survival, in spite of suffering and deformity, finally share in levity, kindness, and respect. By loosing their human forms through mutation, his characters attain higher human emotions... D. Dominick Lombardi offers a response to a raw, restless emotional youth culture... His aesthetic is that of a tattoo artist from the future, inspired by pop culture relics.”
Hélianthe Bourdeaux-Maurin, CHARACTERS: Scene I and II, catalog essay, March, 2005
"Nearly everyone is aware of the dangers of genetic engineering. Mr. Lombardi begins with this premise, inviting viewers to travel forward to when humans have mutated beyond recognition. In this future, the population is divided into drones and rulers. This art is all about how to be somebody in a manufactured world.”
Benjamin Genocchio, Skeletons of Sweetness and india-Ink Mutants, The New York Times, June, 2004
“... a futuristic view of the effects on human biology of everyday environmental contamination. His intricate process of reverse acrylic painting on Plexiglas transmits this alarming vision through the everyday language of the tattoo/comic figure that penetrates beyond the polished surface. Lombardi’s message is all the more searing due to hi figures’ compelling emotional expression; they wear their hearts, so to speak, externally on their mutated forms.”
L. P. Streitfeld, ART, The Advocate & Greenwich Times, June, 2004
“These images, graphic and grotesque, contrast primal innocence with boardwalk rawness... The smoke-like shapes, fashioned of delicately attenuated brushstrokes, also perform as figures, deformed in the same way the current fascination with surgically altering one’s body fosters beauty gone awry. Lombardi’s provocative sign mark the twisted paradox of a culture of complacency.”
Claire Lieberman, All is Not What it Seems, Dart international, Fall/Winter 2004.
"Dominick Lombardi is the more audacious of the three. He is willing to risk dismissal of serious intent on the grounds that cartoons are not a proper medium for grave content. Here he follows the lead of Art Spiegelman’sMaus: a Survivor’s Tale, whose comic book version of the Shoah sparked debate on whether or not certain subjects required elevated forms."
"An installation of 85 drawings, dexterous and eccentric, are part of what he calls The Post Apocalyptic Tattoo Series. It is an effort to use, in his words, "a comic book/tattoo aesthetic" to represent the heads of whoever might be left on the beach when the radioactive winds have passed."
Maureen Mullarkey, Studio Matters/notes & commentary, 2002
D. Dominick Lombardi achieves one large drawing by presenting 60 individually framed small drawings in a grid format. The ink drawings are of heads, reminiscent of a wall of celebrity caricatures fading at Sardi's, the Broadway hangout.
But for the most part the heads are faceless, which is disturbing. A viewer may interpret them as if they were Rorschach blots.
William Zimmer, The New York Times, December 1, 2002
REGARDING REVERSE COLLAGE
“Mr. Lombardi has glued his materials, most often yellowed newspaper articles and advertisements, to sheets of plexiglass, and the way light strikes his surfaces often means that printing on both the front and the back of the article can be read"
"That this often causes a confusion and a babel of language is part of Mr. Lombardi's point. The 20th century is full of heady contradictions and a compounding of high and low elements. Mr. Lombardi is deliberately alluding to another uniquely 20th century practice, the Surrealist game of ''exquisite corpse,'' in which words and images combine by chance in often startling ways."
"The artist maintains that the page layout of any major newspaper today is something like a ready-made ''exquisite corpse'' simply because of the jumble of events that get reported on a normal day; the mixture gets even headier when advertisements come into play."
"The painted components of these collages are usually derived from impassive motifs associated with the emblematic art of the century, geometric abstraction; they allude to a high-mindedness that is often challenged by the banality or tedium of the collage element, as with ''Violence Explodes,'' the headline in ''Reverse Collage No. 10.''”
William Zimmer, ART; The 20th Century, Two Viewpoints in Sculpture and Collage, The New York Times, January, 1998
“Formal abstract qualities and vibrant color form the initial response to the work, but a second reading reveals photos and text that selectively unveil a narrative betraying a social commentary. Playing with the ironic relationships that occur between juxtaposed news articles and advertisements; old books versus contemporary enlightenment, Lombardi revels in the convenient or culturally driven skewing of historical or scientific fact.”
Kenneth Marchione, D. Dominick Lombardi: The Reverse Collage Series, Art/Ex Gallery, Stamford Museum, Stamford Connecticut, exhibition essay, 1997
“The curator’s own assemblages have the same anxious quality as the show he has chosen. One is a mélange of found objects – bits of weathered wood, a gilded classical column embellished with metal hooks and so on – all of them deployed vertically against a bilingual road sign. Titled “Ridin’ the Rio Grande,” this composition is a comment on the litter afflicting the landscape near the Mexican border. The other one is too complex to describe, beyond saying that it centers on a Baroque table leg surrounded by a fence of folded tin printed with cartoon characters in a landscape and includes numerous knickknacks in metal and plastic.”
Vivien Raynor, The New York Times, April 6, 1997
Why does an artist of obvious skill choose the images he paints? Dominick Lombardi’s paintings… The easel size oils of nervous, distorted figures undergoing various kinds of tortures at the mercy of the artist are not easy to look at… ‘Hypnoidal Soothsayer’ is a being disguised as a humanoid, seemingly in the process of reverting back to his original form, much as David Bowie does in the movie, ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’. Lombardi’s painting serve as a warning of the pain of a world gone mad.
Staff writer, Disturbing Images, ARTSPEAK, Vol. III, No. 25, June 24, 1982
Lombardi’s Surrealistic, dream-like works combine the wildly visionary, unusual combinations of figures and animals and elaborate color-texturing of the entire picture surface that has a certain convulsive, obsessive quality. Some use of photographs is apparent, though only as a starter, to be distorted or elaborated upon by the artist’s imagination. Kukla, Fran and Ollie make their appearance in one picture, though they are among the least elaborate in the show. Perhaps they are an unusual enough combination in reality. “Shadows” and “Listening to the Radio are key pictures of this very striking, almost demonic, type.
Don Gray and Jessie Benton Evans Gray, New York Arts Journal, February, 1979