This exhibition will provide the opportunity to view the recent creative products of Ferrari, the young Italian artist who has exerted a major influence on Chicago sculpture since he became, in 1966, sculptor in residence at the University of Chicago’s Midway Studios. Ferrari has shown his work since 1958 in national and international exhibitions, winning prizes beginning in the first year. His sculpture has been exhibited in many gallerieis in Italy, Germany, Jugoslavia, and the United States. Museums of modern art in Rome, Verona, and Atlanta, Georgia, own his sculptures, and his work can also be found in important private collections. He was recently commissioned to do the large bronze for the entrance of the Sylvain and Arma Wyler Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago.
The show includes works in many media with recurring themes such as nodules in varied sizes and shapes on twisting strands which evolve into drooping form motifs, the teardrop and the umbilically connected volumes.
Since coming to Chicago he has completed the largest of the works to be shown at the Renaissance Society. Called La Goccia della Vita (The Drop of Life), it poses a great curved painted wall of wood, textured and worn, with a bronze thread descending from a central aperture to an ambiguous bronze volume. This, among other recent works, reveals the sculptor’s assertion of control of form, surfaces, and details, strengthening expression. Some of his earlier pieces on exhibiton achieved power not only through dynamic aerial balance in construction but also through rougher surface textures, sometimes the result of partially controlled accident.
Ferrari’s Tragic Flight series gave abstract expression in large and small bronzes to a 1962 airplane crash, evoking the mood of disaster through down-turned surfaces, ragged edges and broken forms. One of this group was acquired recently by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, where it was dedicated as a memorial in 1966. Another has been lent for this exhibition, and will be shown outdoors under the trees in the Saarinen-designed Woodward Court. Several other scultures will be installed outdoors in front of Goodspeed Hall.
A struggle for dominance between the mechanical and the organic or human is symbolized in several other bronzes executed in Italy in the past two years; when organic foms predominate, harshness gives way to softer, even playful qualities as in Maternita which concerns a mother feeding a child.
Large, strongly colored paintings will also be shown; two dimensional designs derive directly from the central themes of the sculpture. Color appears on some pieces of sculpture, too. Ferrari uses it for accent and contrast rather than emphasis as in in the fluid color drop that emerges in sharp contrast from a funneled opening in a machine-cut block of aluminum with varied textures on the silvery reflecting metal surface.