50th year in the Arts
” Art isn’t work – it’s a way of life, an attitude. I am carrying out the dream I began in 1968 . I’m living my dreams awake. The people who create rather than destroy are really the architects of society.”
Salvatore Zagami, is an internationally known art , has resided in his Ft. Lauderdale studio since 1975. Zagami continues to be a working artist , as well as teacher , an art juror and collector .This is Zagami ‘s 50th year in the Arts .
Zagami is originally from New York / Italy, Salvatore has lived and worked in Florida, New York, Italy, and Venezuela. . The first of his gallery representations was with the Carone Gallery on Las Olas Boulevard, in Fort Lauderdale, his first solo exhibition in 1973. In 1978, his second major exhibition was with Matta, and Marca-Relli. His works have also been shown by Ivan Karp in New York ; the Mack Gilman Gallery in Chicago ; and Gallery G in Caracas Venezuela. His retrospective exhibition with Fernando Botero and Kenny Sharf was another major accomplishment in his career at the Fort Lauderdale Museum (1995 ). These are just a few of his major exhibitions. In Fort Lauderdale, for Art in Public Places – He created an 16 ft. sculpture for The Imperial Pointe Library ( Three Horses above the Catwalk , 1988 ). He has received awards from the South Florida Consortium and The National Endowment for the Arts with a celebratory exhibition at the Norton Gallery of Art , Palm Beach
Dr. Kenworth Moffett Director, Museum of Art says:
“Although still a relatively small city, Fort Lauderdale already boasts many very good visual artists. Salvatore Zagami is one of the most accomplished of these. I noticed his sculpture when I first came to live in South Florida in 1989. The Museum of Art was able to acquire a large example of his work. Mamey 1, in 1993, a piece that has been much admired. Also a Zagami sculpture provided the frontispiece of the Museum’s “focus on Fort Lauderdale” group exhibition in 1992. So it is fitting that this first museum survey show of Zagami’s work be presented by the Museum of Art. We can all be proud that such an original and ambitious artist lives in our community.”
Laurence Pamer, Curator of Exhibitions, Museum of Art :
As a sculptor, Salvatore Zagami’s main intent is to make us think, to raise new questions in our minds. Not that Zagami will provide answers to these questions; he is averse to assigning specific meanings to any of his pieces. Yet his works, often confrontational and emotionally gut-wrenching, demand that we stop, take notice, and contemplate. Since the early 1980s, Zagami has been stimulating thought by juxtaposing or combining seemingly diverse, unrelated forms in a single piece. In Man’s Best Friend, for example, a dog’s muzzle replaces the breasts of a female torso. The immediate effects are absurd, outrageous, off beat. Yet such surreal juxtapositions evoke thoughts about serious contemporary women in male-dominated societies? Are men today reluctant to unleash women – who they sometimes have considered mere accessories – and to allow them to be independent force in society? Zagami can even take something as innocuous as the ubiquitous “smiley” face – which has adorned countless buttons, T-shirts, and bumper stickers – and by replacing its eyes with human skulls, create a disturbing image which addresses the loss of security we have experienced recently in the modern world. Can we trust the smiling face which seems to beckon innocently? According to Zagami, by crating startling visual associations, he hopes to cause “the spectator to reach into his inventory of thoughts and then provoke some kind of referencing, either to himself or to society or even to the artist.”
Zagami’s work has not always been so provocative. In the early 1970s, as a sculptor fresh out of college, he used traditional media such as clay, plaster, and marble, and much of his work was abstract and thus more impressive for its spiritual rather than thought provoking qualities. Soon he discovered the possibilities of plastics. First, while it was in a liquid state, he swirled plastic with vibrant colors; then, when it solidified, he sculpted and polished it into massive rock-like forms, which he describes as “an integration of painting with sculpture.” Later, using a similar technique, he chemically “drew” colored lines in clear plastic to create three – dimensional, encapsulated spaces. These plastic pieces were experiments with pure form and color. Although abstract work appears in Zagami’s oeuvre as late as 1987, around 1980 his sculpture started to become more representational. “Technique became secondary,” he explains. “Now I was interested in conveying concepts, sparking ideas.” He continued to work with plastic, but it now took on the look of steel, and he began to use a variety of media. In Crossing, he incorporated a found object – a traffic sign – with other sculpted forms, such as disembodied hands pierced with oversized bolts, to evoke religious connotations and to allude to the restrictions imposed on the individual in contemporary society.
ZAGAMI Psychology Art
This series of artworks concern themselves with observations of ourselves and society: relationships, struggles, contentment, joy, hope. Zagami has always observed the rational and irrational of mankind. These works capture some of his observations and make statements about their absurdity of man’s nature. These works have helped Zagami in his search and understanding of achieving the goal of “happiness.”
Where do these quirky, unconventional associations come form? “Every sculpture has a point of departure that I come off of”‘ Zagami explains. “There are just certain things, events, everyday stimuli that cause the fleeting thought, the birth of the piece. But he doesn’t begin sculpting spontaneously. “I have a thought about a piece” he continues, “but I don’t start it on the first day. It has to haunt me for a while. If it continues to haunt me, then I do it.” In his twenty-fifth year as a professional sculptor, Zagami continues to create stimulating work which, in t ues to create stimulating work which, in turn, haunts us, his audience, long after we view it.
City Link Jan 29 – Feb 4 2003 Gallery
“I’ve worked with all media to find my personal expression,” says Fort Lauderdale’s Sal Zagami ,who now prefers to work with man-made materials. I like plastics, because of their versatility, and steel. I believe art is an expression of man. If you take a piece of marble, the beauty in it comes from nature, not the artist.” Of his sculpture ”Jawbone,” which features a plastic bird, Zagami says,” I can make plastic look as technical as possible or as if it has the same qualities as clay,” says Zagami ”The material allows me to do it.” For “Numerologist,” a mixed media sculpture of a male nude, Zagami was exploring his interest in numerology. ”It’s almost a satire,” he says, ” because we’ve all become numbers these days.”The New York state native came to South Florida in 1971 to attend Marymount College (now Lynn University ) in Boca Raton. He became affiliated with the Carone Gallery in Fort Lauderdale after graduation.” I was represented by Matt Carone for 22 years, ”Zagami says.” I had a show with Roberto Matta in 1978. I can’t tell you how lucky I am. Carone had a great effect on my understanding of art.” Last year, the artist opened Zagami Fine Arts in Fort Lauderdale. Today he says he is more concerned with promoting other artists than himself. It’s his goal to make the space a mini-museum by showcasing local and international art created from an inner need rather than a commercial motive. He also teaches ceramics and cinematography at Cypress Bay High School in Weston. “I’m someone who wants to advance the arts,” Zagami says. There aren’t a lot of people who want to do this. Maybe I can make a difference.”
Lately, he has been making forays into digital photography. ”What I like best about it is the immediacy of the concept,” he says. “I like spontaneity in art.”
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