TORONTO – OCTOBER 1, 2018 – Villa Charities and the Columbus Centre are pleased to present the Canadian premiere of Marco Sassone’s landmark exhibition Home on the Streets, with an opening reception on Thursday, January 24, 2019 from 7pm – 9pm. The show will run at the Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery at the Columbus Centre in both the Upper and Lower galleries through
April 21, 2019. The art gallery is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is wheelchair accessible. Entry is free.
The personal tragedy of homelessness and its seemingly permanent place in our urban landscape are the themes of the artist’s exhibition. Originally executed by Marco Sassone over the course of four years (1990 – 1994), the original 15 large-scale oil paintings and 20 smaller black and white drawings depict portraits of the homeless as well as “landscapes” in which these people become an integral part of the urban scenery.
“Sassone’s powerful brush strokes capture the essence of the human condition and give a voice to those who are often ignored,” said Emanuele Lepri, Executive Director of Cultural Programming for Villa Charities Inc. “We are proud to share Sassone’s works with our community, which are embedded with strong social messages.”
Over a period of two years, Sassone completely immersed himself in the homeless population of San Francisco, listening to their stories, learning about their lives and the different routes they took to end up on the streets. Out of this journey came this collection of deeply personal paintings and drawings, which remind us of both the humanity and anonymity of these individuals, whom we pass every day on our sidewalks. Home on the Streets opened in San Francisco in 1994, travelling to Los Angeles in 1996 and Florence in 1997.
The author of the exhibition catalogue Peter Clothier stated:
The raw edge of these pictures is not their public rhetoric but their private agony … Homelessness, for this exiled artist whose roots are still not firmly planted in American soil is not eventually a social problem but a personal and deeply-felt emotional experience.
Following the exhibition, Sassone’s relationship with the homeless never ended, bringing them back into his work time and time again. The current exhibition Home on the Streets that will be on display at the Columbus Centre includes selected additional work executed over the past 25 years.
Ilaria Bonuccelli, writing for La Republica, Rome (April 4, 2002) noted:
The man with blue eyes stares out at you. No concession made. He offers you – perhaps forces upon you – a magnified view of trashed humanity. The pupils gape at an interior world which he invites you to enter, without knocking. The brushstrokes are merciless. As a man and as a painter, Marco Sassone was sucked up into the world of the homeless from the time he was a child, at Campi Bisenzio.
Proceeds from the sales of the exhibition catalogues and posters during the opening night reception will go to support Villa Charities Foundation, in their mission to provide funding for culturally sensitive senior care, and educational and cultural programs in music, dance and visual arts.
For more information on the Home on the Streets exhibition, visit villacharities.com.
About Marco Sassone
Marco is a Florence native and now lives and works in Toronto. He has embraced international acclaim as a painter for over forty years. His most poignant and enduring influences can be traced back to his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence in the 1960s with painter Silvio Loffredo, himself a student of the expressionist master Oskar Kokoschka. The agitated brushstrokes and vibrant colours appealed to Sassone, offering the artist a foundation that has remained throughout his career.
Sassone’s work has been presented in numerous exhibitions, including those at National Academy of Design, New York (1977); Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California (1979); Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (1988); Bernheim Jeune, Paris (1988); Museo Italo Americano, San Francisco (1994); Cloisters of Santa Croce, Florence (1997); Pietrasana Museum, Pietrasana, Italy (2003); San Angelo Museum of Fine Art, San Angelo, Texas (2014); Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto (2016).
Many books and catalogues have been published about his work, including the volume “Sassone” (1979), written by art historian Donelson Hoopes. The artist was knighted into “The Order of the Merit of the Italian Republic” in 1982.
About Villa Charities Inc.
Villa Charities Inc. is a registered charity and non-profit organization that celebrates and promotes the Italian Heritage, Culture, Language, Arts, Food and Family Values. For almost 50 years across the GTA, Villa Charities has provided culturally sensitive long-term care for seniors and offered educational and cultural programs in music, dance, visual arts, culinary arts, athletics and more. The Villa Charities family includes Villa Colombo Homes for the Aged Inc. in Toronto; Villa Colombo Services for Seniors (Vaughan) Inc./Di Poce Centre; Caboto Terrace, Casa Del Zotto and Casa Abruzzo apartments for independent seniors; the Columbus Centre; and Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery. For more information, visit www.villacharities.com
About Columbus Centre
Since its opening in 1980, the Columbus Centre has served as a vibrant community centre where people can enjoy the richness of an Italian culture within a Canadian setting. Today, the Columbus Centre remains a major hub for the GTA’s Italian-Canadian community and a popular meeting place frequented by more than 150,000 visitors every year. Patrons of all ages visit the Columbus Centre daily for dance, visual arts, music, culinary and theatre programs; view art exhibitions at the Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery; attend cultural events and programming; enjoy fine Italian cuisine at Ristorante Boccaccio and participate in a wide range of athletic, aquatics and wellness programs at our 70,000 sq. ft. Athletic Club.
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