Joseph Bellacera


Nature and luminosity inspire the work of Joseph Bellacera. His primary subject matter is the perception of space, light and patterning. This pertains to the vastness of nature as it relates to the landscape and its underlying macro and micro configurations. In his luminous paintings radiant forms emerge and dissolve to evoke feelings of transcendence. Bellacera comments, “I use the alchemy of color and light to create the experience of seeing something, as if for the first time, before we define, name and categorize it. In this way, through painting or sculpture, the mystery and awe of discovery and creation is continuously renewed.” The most profound artistic influences on Bellacera’s work have been that of JMW Turner’s emotional and atmospheric seascapes from the early 19th century; Kandinsky’s early 20th century spiritual abstract improvisations; and the recent work of James Turrell, a Southwest installation artist who works with light.
Born and raised in Northern California, Joseph has also lived in Montana, Oklahoma, and New York. He studied art at several institutions including: Massachusetts College of Art; Humboldt State University where he received an MA degree; and University of California Santa Barbara where he received an MFA.
A very prolific artist, Bellacera exhibits throughout the United States and his work can be seen in many private and corporate collections as well as public institutions.
My artwork is concerned with qualities of space, light and pattern and how, together, they stimulate experiences of infinity and transcendence. With multiple techniques and materials, I employ elements of the landscape and its underlying micro and macro configurations in random arrangements with many transparent layers of oils, acrylics and epoxy resin. I contrast these fluid and atmospheric effects with hard, opaque substances such as concrete, wood putty and metal. It is my intention that these combinations provide an opportunity to renew the mystery and awe of discovery.
As the complexity and fragility of the planet is exposed, so my wonder at the mystery of our world increases and inspires my art, particularly new discoveries concerning the quantum and macro universes that pervade the landscape of our existence.
We have often heard the phrase, “connecting the dots”, which refers to making sense of various bits of information. As we understand that matter is not as solid as was once thought, we can imagine that all concepts and structures that we have relied on over the ages are fluid and alterable – thus the name of my exhibit, Disconnecting the Dots. Through this body of artwork I explore the idea of breaking apart established, rigid patterns of belief that no longer serve us and shape the way we see ourselves. What if there are other patterns we can discover or create that are more beautiful and restorative?
Why dots? Dots are basic markings, building blocks. While we often think of dots as circular in nature, they don’t have to be. Dots can be points of light, arrangements of stars, bits of information that can be constructed into representations. Dots anchor themselves in space and provide a reference point relative to others. Dots are points of focused attention.
Arrangements of dots into elaborate configurations enable a gestalt to be formed, a perception where the combination of elements is more than the sum of the parts. We form gestalts to integrate and make sense of what we consider to be excessive stimuli.
As soon as we are born, this ability to create fictitious concepts is used in our acculturation process. We are taught to substitute symbols and words for our three-dimensional, sensory reality. We create mythologies to explain our existence and to rationalize our actions. It appears that we cannot exist without beliefs, nor can we survive without the creative flexibility to change these beliefs as we grow in awareness. We connect and disconnect the dots as needed.

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