TZ-TONY ZANARDI BIO
“Enfant terrible” by vocation, fan of Jimmy Dean and Marlon Brando, Tony spends his carefree adolescent years as a true “Rebel without a Cause”, managing to get through high school, sporting denim dungarees, racing on his Harley Davidson and celebrating life at parties on the Venice Grand Canal. This youthful energy fuels his creativity and inspiration. His exuberance remains visible in the line work, the colors and often the subject matter throughout his collection of paintings.
Tony Zanardi was born in Padua, Italy, to a family of Venetian origin. As an adolescent, the your artist discovers his passion for the arts and devotes himself to the media of drawing and painting, the vehicles of artistic expression that most suit his great desire to explore and communicate to the world its most intimate feelings.
Naturally inclined for entrepreneurship, together with his father Luigi and brothers Giorgio and Rodolfo, Tony starts his own business in his early twenties: the “Zanardi Bookbinders” was born which will later become “Zanardi Publishing” a group of several leading companies in the fields of top quality book publishing and graphics in the printing sector of Europe and the rest of the world.
In 1997, he decides to take a drastic turn for the better to fulfill his life’s dreams and to devote himself entirely to his great passion and first true love, painting. Tony travels the world in search of inspiration and ideas, but it is thanks to the colors and blinding light of the Samana Peninsula (Dominican Republic) and the tranquility of the Tverskaia Oblast (Russia) woods, that Tony starts painting again; he paints frantically, with a fervent hand, translating emotions into images to share with the world. More than just painting, in recent years, he has successfully worked in the fields of interior design, furniture and fabric design. He recently outlined a very ambitious landscaping project: the design and layout of one of the largest rose gardens in Russia. The garden, measuring almost an acre and featuring more than a thousand rose varieties, is located in the park of the monumental complex of Rayok, Russia, of which Antonio is Art Director and has one of his studios, the other ones are in Padua, Italy and Hudson, NY.
SELECTED ESSAYS ON TZ-TONY ZANARDI
Tony Zanardi is from Veneto and his love for Venice (even though he was born in Padua) is expressed by his numerous works over time. That love is not provincial; rather, it is enhanced by his truly international experience. Zanardi, in fact, is not so much a painter, of "places" but a painter of perceptions. Those perceptions can be traced by the maestro even in places far away from each other but unified by a purely stylistic analogy that the artist profusely pours into his art.
For over 20 years Zanardi lived in Russia, in a secluded location, that perfectly embodied his ideal of life and art together. But it is not Russia itself or the Dominican Republic (where he spent an important period of his life) that determined his artistic pursuits. This also applies to "his" Venice. Not that those locations ,chosen by the artist to spend very long periods of its life, have not been beloved and crucial for his creative process, but creation for Zanardi never occurs as a "tracing" of a place. For the artist creation arises from a place of fantasy that exists within the inspired soul of the painter, far from any immediate or direct reference to a concrete reality. Maestro Zanardi sees painting as a process of discovering analogies that are later transferred onto the canvas with an inexhaustible creative energy. This process enables the artist to bring visions and things together that otherwise would not have a unifying point.
Today the maestro presents a sequence of works revolving around a few key themes and topics. A magnificent source from which to draw ideas and images comes from the Ballets Russes. From this already figurative reality the artist draws characters and key moments: the end of the show when the artists come out to thank the audience, the show itself with its complex shapes of classical dance performances, and the reckless performances of the ballet virtuosos (Zanardi highly appreciates the role of ballet "star"or diva of the show as he has long transferred "stars"through his art by studying great actors of American (cinema). It is a world of glittering and elegant movements onto which the master drops his unique composition and sense of color. For Zanardi color is strong and compact: it creates forms and shapes and breaks them down at the same time.
A descendant of the great Venetian tradition, Zanardi thinks of color as if composed of many mosaic "tiles". His approach, updated for the 21 century, has a glowing feel of those who, like him, witnessed the apotheosisof American Pop. These color blocks construct and deconstruct shapes, giving the viewer the impression of a powerful focus of images, paradoxically distant from the immediacy of their presence and projected into a remote fairytale world, almost unrecognizable unless analyzed with the utmost care. Suddenly the images of the dances come to life and aretransfigured into genuine joy for the eyes, the same we find in the artist's representation of Venice: its sunsets, domes, bridges, and squares invaded by hight water, all modeled with the same chromatic substance that allows us to compare the vision of a Venetian villa on the river to that of a dancer who kneels before the audience bathed in sparkling light. They are all visually shocking moments defined by the soft power of color and intimate feelings coalescing into the vortex of a steady stream of effective and meaningful signs.
Zanardi, speaking of himself, mentions the evocative image of the dream, mobile and restless, that the artist sets into the immobility of the painting while keeping the elements of vagueness and imprecision inherent with the essence of the vision of the mind.
Here you can get a clear idea of what painting means to an artist like Zanardi, an ecstatic and lucid dreamer: a flawless maestro gifted with evident form that at the same time, is able to transcended form to regain the happiness of the moment that would otherwise vanish into thin air, if it were not up to the artist to recreate it in the harmony of the pictorial form.
Venice and New York are two cities difficult to reconcile. Lucio Fontana was able to connect them with his works in copper that create vivid reflections almost like special effects. Another Italian artist who has succeded in this task, with his own painting technique made of soft touches and forays into Impressionism, is Tony Zanardi who finally introduces his work to the world after years of working silently in the "foyer" of his life. The artist is able to surround his subjects with a protective smokescreen of sensuality - sensual are his female nudes but also his sweetly languid potraits of cities and landscapes, appearing to the viewer scantily dressed and frail almost like after intercourse. All of a sudden, the high waters in Venice, the waters of the Volga River, the dunamic skies of New York all resemble each other. All his landscapes and still lives become like bodies, lightly touched by a tremulous dream igniting desire. The most meaningful painting in Zanardi's exhibition is perhaps "Thought" which reveals an inverse metamorphosis - a beautiful girl seems to transmute into a city traveler who needs to be captured by his subjects while he captures us, the viewers, with his magical images. Let us experience and meditate on them together, dreaming.
The work of Tony Zanardi appears to the viewer like a vision, something out of a dream. In fact, like any artist working at the height of his craft, Tony is able to transfer his personal dream from his mind's eye into the work at hand, and then onto the viewer. This is the gift of his art; his gift to the world. In sharp acidic tones, he at once attracts the gaze of the viewer and repels it. This push and pull on the senses is what adds depth to the viewer's experiences of the work, makes it challenging, even though the scenes portrayed may be familiar ones. For instance, Lagoon, 2007, is a randering of the ancient fable city of Venice. The beautifully melancholic and seemingly tragically doomed city is also the subject of Hight Water, 2007, in which the phenomenon of rising sea levels is painfully obvious.
The artist's attachment to Venice can be seen throughout his most recent body of work. But this is anothertheme that runs through his most recent work, a theme that stretches far over the Atlantic and into America. To a young boy growing up in Italy, the USA represented all that he could wish for - freedom, siccess, glamour, youth. Thesequalities he sawembodied in the stars of that time, such as Marlon Brando, James Dean, John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
These stars come alive again under the instinctually emotional brushstrokes of Tony Zanardi.
The title of this show "Visitations", suggests a spiritual experiences that goes beyond the realm of the physical world. Whether in the creation of everyday life as a dream, or the recreation of icons traveling from the past into present life, Tony Zanardi gives the viewer an opportunity to experience reality and dream fused together into something greater than ordinary life. He takes us beyond the mundane into the realm of the infinite.