Edward Carlo Pacio's Marbles
By James Norwood Pratt
The eye does not come to rest on a sculpture by Edward Carlo Pacio --- it comes to play. Stone from the hand of this Los Angeles-based artist has been explored the way a child explores a backyard, a gifted child who finds it filled with hidden surprises and unfathomed wonders. And again and again you are drawn into the very grain, almost the molecular structure of the marble as --- again and again --- Edward Carlo Pacio show you just what he loves most about the piece of stone. Any stone this sculptor has loved assumes a shape so sensuous not even Mother Theresa could resist stroking it.
I'm a believer. I've moved among these marbles --- visited them --- and lingered long enough to watch their various shadows fall, just as I saw some of their sister-to-be-taking shape under Edward's hand. He does cut stone, but that's only to start---then he smoothes, contours, polishes and sheen's the surface 'til the rock itself comes alive, like Michelangelo's Pieta. Edward Carlo Pacio brings stone to life.
The joy to be found in this man' work comes partly from what a child he's gone back to being. His Master of Fine Arts degree from the venerable San Francisco Art Institute was in filmmaking, after all, and led to quite a distinguished career as a film, video and commercial director. Who can forget the gleam on the TV ad for the Eveready Energizer Battery or his brilliant imagery for Baby Guess? The whole point of the work was that gleam Edward invented! I do not wish to list his successes, which would be tiresome, but I do wish to insist upon the consummate artistry he showed throughout his film career. But suddenly Edward, my friend since we were students, has unimagined events have befallen these very stones before your eyes.
After half a century Edward Carlo Pacio has only now found his medium and his métier in direct stone carving --- and the related disciplines, no doubt, to some degree. He will assuredly cast more bronzes and make sculptures of all types. But carving stone, which is to say loving stone, is clearly this man's destiny. The hippest of all my friends --- technologically speaking, to go no further - is now devoted to the arts of the Old Stone Age, and you know what? He makes sense to me. His marbles allow us, invite and even compel us, to lose ours, just as the poet predicts:
I have curled mid the boles of alabaster
I have hidden my face where the oak
Spread his leaves over me, and the yoke
Of the old ways of men have I cast aside
The Carver's Gift this is, and it can come from no other. As for why it should come THROUGH my dear Edward, I have a theory about that also. It's not in the water --- it's in the genes! Think Neapolitan, think Sicilian. Think about the people who were there to greet the ancient Odysseus when he crawled ashore, happy to show off their local volcano and top sculptures. Those are Edward Carlo Pacio's genes all right, and five thousand years later they're still active - and still genetically superior when it comes to generating sculpture the ancient way --- by eye and hand and heart.
My new sculpture series begins a deep spiritual journey recapturing my inner self. Communicating with stone, visualizing a finished work within a raw stone and understanding three-dimensional space became my driving force. Travelling to study and marvel at the masterpieces in Italy led to a creative force for me. Interestingly, unlike other art forms, both stone carving and filmmaking require the removal of the original material in order to reveal the subject. In filmmaking, the emulsion of the film is removed by light entering the camera lens, and when editing, frames of film are cut and removed during the 'rough cut', much the same way as the chisel removes bits of stone during the 'roughing out' stage of stone carving. They are both slow and thought intensive process' and require the removal rather than the application of material.
I am a direct stone carver. I do not work from sketches or models of any kind and do not copy or make scale models using the 'pointing method'. Initially I identify with the raw stone by visualizing what lies within the stone. This is where my bond with the stone is formed. In a group of raw stones, the right one will pop right out at me. I would not let the beauty of the polished stone overshadow the integrity of the carving itself. I can see the subject as it comes out of the rock and I simply help it out of its encasement, being ever so careful as to not damage a single fragment. The sculpture actually goes through a metamorphosis throughout the carving process, moving and changing position in an ever so subtle and subconscious way from day to day in much the same way that a baby moves inside the womb.
My work is primarily abstract/figurative, the majority of which to a certain degree usually incorporates figurative elements. Carving experience has led me to not force something out of the stone. I also minimize use of power tools depending on the size of the project. In this way, the carving subtleties that come directly from my hands are more apparent in the sculpture. Naturally, electric drills are used for boring holes and polishing, but I try to maintain as much tactile contact with the stone as possible. I will do this until the hands give out. I welcome input and comments from fellow artists, collectors, art lovers, patrons and galleries.
God Bless America
A graduate of San Francisco Art Institute, Edward Carlo Pacio was exposed to all the fine arts, but is actually a self-taught sculptor. Filmmaking was his major study and discipline during his education at San Francisco Art Institute, where he earned a B.F.A. and M.F.A. (1969 -'74) during a creatively explosive period of art production and experimentation. Over the next 25 years Pacio produced and directed hundreds of commercials, corporate, effects & animation, television, music videos and independent productions. Ed's new sculpting career is a total departure from film and video as an art form but Pacio draws interesting parallels between sculpting stone and the filmmaking process.
Edward Carlo Pacio's sculptural passion and achievements have been fuelled by friends, patrons and associates love of his work, plus his desire to create more personal art. Born and raised in New Jersey he has resided in the Los Angeles area since 1982.