The pandemic wreaked havoc on many industries, especially the arts. The virus caused many museums, galleries, theatre and performances venues to shutter. With the hopes of seeing life return to “normal,” Long Island- based lawyer turned filmmaker, playwright and fine artist, Michael Ricigliano will debut his newest exhibition, WOVEN at Long Island University Post Campus through Feb. 28.
The exhibit is curated by world renowned artist, Alan Sonfist, whose work is exhibited in major U.S. and international museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, Paris, France and the National Gallery of Art (Canberra, Australia).
“The beauty and intelligence that I find in Michael’s art is amplified by the fact that he is completely self-taught,” Sonfist said. “I truly believe that he is producing work that should be exhibited in museums and I do not say that lightly. I am proud to watch him on his journey to become an exceptional artist.”
WOVEN is a collection of abstract acrylic on canvas pieces that were created during the COVID pandemic by Ricigliano of Locust Valley.
“I looked to my earlier abstract works for inspiration,” Ricigliano said. “Not just as a visual understanding of my progression as an artist, but as a way of re-creating some of those specific pieces.”
A true Renaissance man, Ricigliano successfully balances two careers at once. In recent years he developed a career as an artist, writer, and film producer, while also still practicing law in Melville.
“The name WOVEN was chosen for this series because several pieces were once a completed work from my past, then cut into strips and woven back into a brand-new piece,” Ricigliano said. “Here the viewer can see a new work of art and try and recreate what it might have looked like before.”
He has exhibited his abstract work at the Union League Club Gallery and the Lilac Gallery in Manhattan as well as The Huntington Art Gallery on Long Island.
He wrote and produced the feature-length film, The Brooklyn Banker, directed by Federico Castelluccio; it stars Paul Sorvino, David Proval and Troy Garity.
He also co-wrote the feature film, Created Equal, based on the book by R.A. Brown and directed by Bill Duke and his film, The Court of Oyer and Terminer, starring Harry Lennix and Harris Yulin, is set to begin filming this summer.
Ricgliano’s play, A Queen for a Day, directed by John Gould Rubin, had a very successful run off-Broadway. It is currently in pre-production for its feature film adaptation starring Proval and directed by Castelluccio.
Long Island University Post Campus is located at 720 Northern Blvd., in Brookville. The exhibit is in the library.
A Brief Chat With The Artist
Q. How do you describe your style to someone who has not seen it yet?
A. I would describe my painting style as organized abstract expression.
Q. What/who has inspired your work?
A. I was introduced to abstract art by Federico Castelluccio (HBO’s Sopranos) who directed my first film, The Brooklyn Banker and has become a very close friend. Federico, an accomplished painter, knew I had an interest in art but I never had any formal training. He was the one who introduced me to that world.
Q. Why do you create?
A. I believe the ability to create is inherent in all of us. I enjoy each aspect of the process, whether it’s my script writing to the final production of a film or play or sketching out an idea, to painting it and placing on the wall.
Q. How did you develop/nurture your talent?
A. Constantly working on different projects.
Q. Why is art important?
A. It’s an expression of who we are and I believe it’s important for us as individuals to nurture that ability.
Follow Ricigliano on his Instagram @mtricig.