Antoine Gaber: Making A Genuine Vocation of Getting Back to Nature by Prof. Mario Micozzi

Translated from Italian, unedited quote( Italian version only)

This stands out as the first time that we have met with a painter (at the Parma contemporary art show, along with other invited artists) who we knew of but had never previously met. In the years from 1957 to the present, this painter has built an uncontestable reputation among the highest ranked and appreciated artists in the vast panorama of the world’s contemporary art. His works are displayed in many art galleries in Canada, the United States, and Latin America, not to mention Nova Scotia, and Normandy, among others. Gaber’s extraordinary activity is, of course, primarily and foremost artistic. Yet it is also tied to humanitarian and solidarity endeavors, since he often uses his talent to support a good cause, such as with his piece entitled Colorectal Cancer Can Run in the Family (2004, 50.8 x 61.0, oil on canvas) – without being the least moralizing.

His work, which successfully combines imagination and reality, is indeed highly complex, rife with references to nature (in reaction to the debated and debatable phenomenon of urbanization and in advocacy of life in direct contact with nature) and to human beings. Very delicately infused with impressionism, Gaber’s art consistently evidences a relationship between humankind (with its unhealthy feelings of indifference, cynicism, and spiritual sterility) and pastoral life. Though disfigured for many years, pastoral life has been extolled as the sole panacea, yet has not been revisited ecologically and fully reappropriated. With an archetypical ideal and material platform, Gaber offers up work rich in content and color, characterized by floral impressions, both sporadic and harmoniously soft and persuasive, that play on the emotions. Orchid in Bloom 01 (2004, 40.6 x 50.8, oil on canvas) stands out as an example in which inspiration stretches out to touch the peaks of tenderness and merges with a profound psychological study of memories, pleasant sensations, and past presences. Gaber’s works include landscapes imbued with an ineffable, seductive, and intriguing idyllic nature, such as in Monet’s Flower Garden, Giverny (2001, 30.5 x 40.6 cm – oil on canvas). These pieces-as if by some kind of enchantment or resonant magic-seemingly conjure up country walks, rural redolence, and the lack of intrusive noises, leaving an almost palpable physical and mental absence of “worldly rumors.” Still others of his paintings, such as La Roche Guyon, Normandy, (2002, 40.6 x 50.8 cm, oil on canvas), bring to mind the profound serenity of a spirit floating in a nearly savage space (the singing of a clear-running brook) in a solitude that is relished and desired especially by those who have suffered or are suffering the perverse attacks of civilization; victims of our century’s ills, which are pernicious and incurable; and victims of this non-civilization’s profound discontentment.

Gaber reveals to us how life goes on in certain cityscapes, so different from landscapes such as in Sunset on the Seine I, (Paris, 2002, 50.8 x 61.0 cm, oil on canvas), in which the dominate feature is not the current, unlivable reality, but rather nostalgia for a period when cities were truly made for people, although that time appears lost forever. Or a time when the refinement of customs, sentimental education styled after Flaubert, and the elegance of dress (not only and not necessarily the elegance of official fashion) in no way contrasted with the commonness of appearances and the vitality of the senses and loving feelings that, today, are threatened, humiliated, and corrupted by this perverse appetite for the material: Elégance Parisienne, (2002, 61.0 x 76.2 cm, oil on canvas).

Mario Micozzi

Novelist, journalist, poet, and cultural facilitator, Mario Micozzi was born in Lanciano (Chieti) and studied at Parma and Urbino. His name is associated with the “national meetings for critique and poetry,” which, according to Elio Filippo Accrona, is a “prestigious cultural institution” well-known in Italy and abroad. Since 1978, he, along with Carlo Bo, G.B. Squarotti, and Giuliano Manacorda, has headed up Punto d’incontro, an interdisciplinary cultural journal that features major Italian writers and intellectuals. His art-critic articles have appeared in the literary sections of newspapers and magazines, including Letteratura, Nuovi Argomenti, Rapporti, Altri termini, Uomini e libri, and Il Ponte. As a writer, he won the 1972 Teramo award for a story, followed by many novels: Il mondo capovolto (topsy-turvy world) (foreword by Walter Mauro); Il Giocatore infernale (the infernal player) (1982); Uomini senza volto (men without faces) (1986); Effetti paralleli (parallel effects) (preface by Michele Prisco, 1988); Circolo perverso (perverse circle) (1990); Progetto rischioso (risky project) (1992); Gli oscuri oggetti del desiderio (obscure objects of desire) (1994); and Una stagione arida (an arid season) (1996) and stories Le chiavi del regno (keys of the kingdom) (1987); La mala coppia (the bad couple) (1989); and Ballata sinistra (the sinister ballad) (foreword by Walter Mauro, 1983).