Living on the West Coast of Canada and having parents who loved outdoor activities, Renato Muccillo has always found nature to be within arm’s reach. It is something that has held his fascination since childhood and his passion only has grown though his art. “Being outdoors definitely shaped me as an artist,” he says. “It’s the witnessing of nature, how the smallest nuances, life forms, grow and survive off each other and work together, seemingly serendipitously, and observing how nature has a way of re-creating itself and functioning in almost perfect ways, regardless of what we do to it. It both invited and necessitated my attention, my curiosity and then my desire to re-create and document it artistically in its ever-changing form. That’s what keeps me going back to it. It never ceases to hold my attention.”
Renato Muccillo’s landscapes have often been compared to those of Dutch masters and 19th Century English artists. However, Muccillo’s images remind us how frequently today’s landscape has been affected and appropriated by man and industry. His paintings are a homage to the Canadian landscape he grew up in, and to land that has changed over time because of nature or land development. Constructing landscapes that can no longer be seen with larger-than-life themes and dramatic imagery results in a piece that functions similarly to personal memory, full of idealized versions of what used to be.
We are mesmerized at first by the luxurious colors and near miraculous use of light but, on closer inspection, we notice the culvert, the pilings, the log booms, or the distant plume of smoke stacks. Even the farms that serve as subject matters of his paintings leave us wondering if they are viable or abandoned as there is no sign of human life-only the marks left behind by man and machine.
“I’m always looking for the underdog in nature and giving it its due by extracting its beauty.”