Mark Giangaspero's Portraits Remain on Display Through Next Week at Tregoning & Co.

click to enlarge Mark Giangaspero’s Dad I. 2011, Pastel on paper 44 x 41.
Mark Giangaspero’s Dad I. 2011, Pastel on paper 44 x 41.
With less than two weeks remaining, you’re running out of time to see FACE THE FACTS: Mark Giangaspero | Portraits at Tregoning & Company. The exhibition remains on view through the end of the next week, Saturday, April 2. The scale and realism of these portraits make them especially noteworthy and impressive. Averaging about three to four feet in each direction, these portraits must be seen in person to be truly appreciated. Although Giangaspero is an accomplished artist living and working in Northeast Ohio, this is a special opportunity to view his work in Cleveland.

These large-scale, hyper-realistic pastel portraits on paper depict Giangaspero’s friends and family. These portraits include up close images of faces/heads, full body nudes and even a geometric, mandala-like study of his father (Dad IV). The works are all monochromatic, some black, white and grayscale, others rendered in a cool blue. Giangaspero depicts his subjects with unapologetic realism – choosing to highlight their most unique qualities, such as scars, beards, body alterations or even the effects of pregnancy on the belly of a soon-to-be mother (Portrait of Jill).

There is an underlying tension in these drawings. Many of the subjects break the “Fourth Wall,” staring thoughtfully back at the viewer. Other images show the back of the subject’s head or views from the side. Though they rarely smile, each has a distinct, unique personality. These aren’t just depictions or renderings, Giangaspero captures the very essence of his sitters. Even the most mundane areas of his compositions are rendered with careful attention to detail. Any trace of the artist’s hand is virtually imperceptible.

“The current works were conceived and executed as portraits: images of human beings,” Giangaspero explains. “I approach the portrait as a collection of visual facts, which create a plausible fiction. The facts are a roadmap of sorts. Another important aspect is the process. Even though there are many ways to make images today, the slow process of drawing or painting, whether pastel on paper or oil on wooden panels, allows me time to understand the surfaces and build the image. Working with these visual facts and understanding that road-map helps me to understand these images as human beings.”

Last year, Giangaspero had a successful solo show at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown. In 2013, his work was included in the prestigious BP Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. His work resides in the permanent collections of the Butler Institute of American Art, Cuyahoga Valley Art Center and many corporate and private collections.

Giangaspero was taught by William Beckman, Robert Brackman and legendary portrait painter Jack Richard, whose patrons included U.S. presidents until his passing in 2014 at the age of 92. After his passing, Richard left his studio and gallery to  Giangaspero, who continues Richard’s efforts, painting and teaching art classes at Jack Richard Studios in Downtown Cuyahoga Falls (2250 Front St.).

FACE THE FACTS: Mark Giangaspero | Portraits remains on view through April 2. Tregoning & Co. is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (8 p.m. on Thursdays), Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment. Tregoning & Company’s entrance is located on West 78th Street inside 78th Street Studios. You’ll have to enter through their separate entrance (look for signs and cars parked out front).

(Tregoning & Company) 1300 W. 78th Street, 216-281-8626,

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