Artwork Share Tweet

 
Joseph Piccillo , E-145, September 2002; charcoal on paper, sight 73 x 45 3/8 inches; framed 80 3/4 x 53 1/2 x 1 1 /2 inches; Gift of the Artist, 2016

Joseph Piccillo , E-145, September 2002; charcoal on paper, sight 73 x 45 3/8 inches; framed 80 3/4 x 53 1/2 x 1 1 /2 inches; Gift of the Artist, 2016

A white Arabian stallion rears up, its nostrils flaring, muscles bulging, and veins swollen. Literally frozen in motion against a solid black background, this horse is ready to strike out, intimidating its opponent with its height and aggressive action. Yet the image is cropped; the horse is contained within a confined space. That it wears a bridle suggests a human attempt to control it; but reins and a saddle are missing. For Joseph Piccillo, his metaphorical horses “may be weak, strong, scared, warm, in trouble. And they are sexual. I think of them as symbols of the human condition.” He created the first of his charcoal horse “pictures” in 1978, as the series Edge Events, which refers to his confining compositions. All the action and power in these works cannot be contained safely within an arbitrary rectangle of any scale, either on canvas or paper. “And there is some danger involved or implied, some heightened emotion,” he added. Between his extraordinary draftsmanship and provocative imagery, Piccillo continues to stimulate the imagination with his mysterious, suggestive Edge Events. “Art is essentially about ideas,” the artist stated. “My work is about meaning and thinking.” —NW