Artist Profile: Frank Capezzera

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Frank Capezzera, Galatea Fine Art’s opening, July 5, 2019.  Photo: George Shaw

FORM AND FIELD-Humans and Gods in the Moment

By Barbara Lindstrom and Marjorie Kaye

Boston, MA. Frank Capezzera’s solo show of figurative paintings, all created this year, FORM AND FIELD-Humans and Gods in the Moment, debuted at Galatea Fine Art in Boston’s SoWa district on July 3, 2019. Frank notes that the twelve acrylics and mixed media paintings are his ‘report card’ to himself on the results of his immersion during the past three years into image making of human and superhuman forms, defined in part by the fields of pigment surrounding the figures. These paintings depict beings in repose or action, and, according to the artist, are a result of an explorative technique whereby he alternates his attention between the figure and the field it is on, as equal components. This is a modern, rather than a classical way of constructing a figural painting. Furthermore, the fields which he fashions are abstracted and often minimalist foundations for his solitary forms, developed with loosely applied marks in charcoal and graphite. He is not above utilizing some unusual, even incongruous pigments, as well as the more common tools of addition, subtraction, clarification and obscuration—until each piece is resolved to his satisfaction.

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Frank Capezzera, Reclining Woman, 18 x 24 in., acrylic on board

In Reclining Woman, Capezzera echoes ancient Greco-Roman tiles and ceramics in the very posture of the reclining figure, with its outlining in white. A fiery sky lights up the background, perhaps mirroring the sensuous, concentrated gaze of the figure. She seems to be barely cognizant of the transformation of the land and sky around her, focusing on an inner conversation that only she can attest to. The deliberate stylizing of the figure is in contrast to the expressive energy of her surroundings; the artist goes as far as allowing the paint to drip from her cushion, as if the figure itself has sprung out of the miasma. This painting may thus exemplify the search for balance that appears over and over in Capezzera’s works—between the crystallized and the biomorphic, the known and the unknown.

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Frank Capezzera, Woman with Red Aura and Blue Shadow, 24 x 28 in., acrylic on board

Capezzera’s Woman with Red Aura and Blue Shadow further hints at a secret life, the unseen life of the psyche. Again, as in Reclining Woman and several other works, the figures appear to emerge out of a primordial soup, to slowly become focused, as if collecting parts of themselves as they step through from an existential possibility into the present. The blue shadow appears perhaps as the animus of the woman, bringing her to life, imploring her to accept her manifestation in the material world.

In strong contrast, Standing Red Woman is a figure of confidence and self-knowledge. Though emerging from a similar primordial and vague background, she is assuredly rooted in the present time, her direction clear and independent of outside influences. There is no shadow, no burning and pilfering of the world around her. She heads forward into a clear future, leaving the howling past behind.

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Frank Capezzera, Standing Red Woman, 24 x 18 in., acrylic on board

Frank Capezzera’s fascination with painting extends back to a childhood summer in 1956 in South Truro, Massachusetts, down a sandy road from the bayside house built by Edward Hopper in 1933. At a luncheon for that great artist, Edward Hopper and his wife Josephine, Frank was brought forward and introduced as a child who aspired to be an artist. Frank remembers Hopper saying “It’s a hard and demanding life.” Whether that remark figured in to his future choices of life’s work is hazy. By the age of twelve he was reading novels about Michelangelo and Van Gogh and formed a notion of art making as a noble endeavor, as he visited the great museums of New York City.

Yet, pursuing a legal career in Boston, and, with his wife, Betsey, raising two children to adulthood, allowed only sporadic attention to making art. For many years, his drawings, watercolors, pastels, and his attempts at painting like the painters he admired, stayed private. He occasionally took life drawing classes, run by his old friend, Dick Stroud, whose figurative drawings and paintings crowd his home. He didn’t share or show. About ten years before his retirement, Frank experienced a ‘now or never’ moment and began to paint landscapes in oils of his favorite memories of Truro and Provincetown. Finally, when retirement arrived and with the encouragement of family and friends, Capezzera committed himself to becoming a painter. To achieve that exalted state meant that he needed to loosen the bonds of the comfortable and explore. Frank became particularly interested in the Bay Area Figurative Movement, that West Coast reaction to New York’s abstract expressionist movement (which he loves but finds elusive in the making), and thus concentrated on life drawing and painting, as well as heeding the premises laid out in Frank Stella’s treatise,Working Space.

Frank Capezzera, FORM AND FIELD: Humans and Gods in the Moment, can be seen July 3-28, 2019.Visit Galatea Fine Art  at 460 Harrison Avenue, #B-6, Boston, MA 02118, 617-542-1500. Gallery hours Wednesday-Sunday 12-5pm and by appointment.

Learn more about Frank’s show FORM AND FIELD: Humans and Gods in the Moment on Frank’s website,

Please join us for an Artist Talk featuring exhibiting artists Frank Capezzera and Joanne Tarlin and curator Jenny Costello on Saturday, July 20 from 4:30pm-6:30pm at Galatea Fine Art, 460 Harrison Avenue, #B-6, Boston, MA 02118



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