“Finzi-Contini Giardino” – an artist explores truth and memories


"Oh Listen" by Eric Finizi, epoxy on linen, 2014

Eric Finzi
Eric Finzi in his studio

Memories play a vital role in Eric Finzi’s “Finzi-Contini Giardino” exhibition at Radford University Art Museum in the Covington Center Nov. 5-Dec. 13.

The Maryland-based artist is known for his manipulated layers of translucent, liquid epoxy, creating surreal, dreamlike scenarios about his family history.

In his paintings, ghostly figures interact amongst romantic backdrops and ornate interiors, their fineness rendered with a loose, flowing hand and a high-gloss surface. The artist’s process creates a finished product with a surface that is fixed and finite while also appearing fluid and dynamic.

Finzi is a direct descendant of the Finzi-Continis, a Jewish family who lived in Ferrara, Italy during World War II. His family inspired the novel and Oscar-winning film, “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis,” which outlines a plot of interpersonal relationships amongst a backdrop of looming Nazi fascism. In the story, the wealthy and mysterious Finzi-Continis are slowly subjected to more and more racial discrimination. Eventually this forces their social lives to take place largely within the grounds of the Finzi-Continis' gardens.

Though surrounded by political turmoil of the time, the novel and film focus on tennis playing, bicycle riding, romance and suspicion. The story states that the Finzi-Continis were amongst those eventually sent to concentration camps where they all perished.

In truth, however, some of the family members escaped and survived. In this series of artworks, the artist explores his familial history, traversing amongst fiction, memory and firsthand accounts. He tells his visual story through layers of epoxy resin.

“Working with epoxy resin is like trying to control chaos, thus providing a formative substance that might be characterized as born entropy,” he said. “There is an element of danger added, as the fumes are sweet but deadly. The process begins with the mixing of the resin and its catalyst; a chemical reaction ensues and time becomes an important dimension in the work. The painting is planned, like a film or play, with Act I, Act II, and Act III. The painting you see represents the summation of many layers of chemical reactions, all moving with their own velocity to a final polymerized end.”

A visual artist as well as a surgeon, scientist and writer, Finzi exhibits in venues such as Sloan Fine Art, New York; Metalstone Gallery, New York; Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art, San Francisco; Honfleur Gallery, Washington, DC; Perihelion Arts, Phoenix; Billy Shire Fine Arts, Los Angeles; La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles; Gallery Imperato, Baltimore; and Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY amongst many others. Finzi’s artwork has been featured in such publications as Art Ltd. Magazine, SFAQ International Arts and Culture, Washington Post, Artnet Magazine, Coagula Art Journal and ARTnews. He has contributed to articles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and the London Times.

This exhibition is on display from Nov. 5-Dec. 13 at the Radford University Museum at the Covington Center. Nov. 5 opening events include an artist talk at 4 p.m. and a showing of the film “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis” at 4:30 p.m. These take place in the Performance Hall of the Covington Center and a meet-the–artist reception follows. Admission is free.

For more information, please call (540)831-5754 

Oct 20, 2015