The Muscatine Art Center will feature one of Muscatine’s own in the upcoming exhibition, “Jon Fasanelli-Cawelti: A Retrospective.” The exhibition of the printmaker’s works will open on May 5 and run through June 9, 2013.
As a twenty-one year resident of Muscatine, Fasanelli-Cawelti is known to many local residents through his artwork, trumpet playing in groups such as the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra and the Mad Creek Mudcats, as a former instructor at Muscatine Community College, through his involvement in the Kosovo Project in 2005 and 2008 and through simple encounters in everyday life.
Originally a student of history, Fasanelli-Cawelti studied briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago before acting on his father’s suggestion of studying art at the University of Iowa where he learned from Virginia Myers and obtained his BFA in 1983. Fasanelli-Cawelti received his MFA from the University of Iowa in 1985 and was a student of Mauricio Lasansky, who was once referred to by Time Magazine as “the nation’s most influential printmaker.” Fasanelli-Cawelti was personal assistant and printer for Lasansky from 1985 to 1998. His relationship to the Lasansky family continues. Fasanelli-Cawelti printed works for Tomas Lasansky’s monograph, Icons and Muses, in 2008 and exhibited prints alongside Richie Lasansky. Tomas is Lasansky’s son, and Richie is his grandson.
Fasanelli-Cawelti is an accomplished printmaker and artist in his own right and his work often features the people, places and objects, especially musical instruments, which are woven into his daily routines. His technique of intaglio printing dates back to the 1400s but Fasanelli-Cawelti has found innovative ways to present a traditional technique. Viewers to the exhibition will see the progression of his work from early prints that are objective and in black and white to recent pieces that are abstract and sometimes feature vibrant color and woven strips of paper.
Fasanelli-Cawelti’s printmaking has evolved since having discovered seven years ago that he has a progressive, motor-neuron disorder. In a way, he credits the disorder with “liberating” his work from being “strictly objective.” Having accepted that he may not be able to physically achieve the same level of precision, some of Fasanelli-Cawelti’s recent prints have built-in allowances such as printing on woven paper which is then re-aligned to create a different image.
Fasanelli-Cawelti is pushing boundaries – the boundaries of traditional printmaking, the boundaries of his own style and the boundaries of his physical capabilities. The process of creating a plate, preparing materials for printing – Fasanelli-Cawelti makes his own ink, and physically running the print is demanding. Yet Fasanelli-Cawelti did not shy away from creating a seven-foot tall print of Diana Calzaretta, his wife of 30 years. This print, which was created in January 2013, will be on public view for the first time during the retrospective at the Muscatine Art Center.
The exhibition, “Jon Fasanelli-Cawelti: A Retrospective,” offers a look at the technique of printmaking and the evolution of a printmaker. The opening on May 5th will feature Fasanelli-Cawelti’s other passion, playing trumpet, with a performance by the Mad Creek Mudcats from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The reception will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. The public is invited to attend. Admission is free.
The Muscatine Art Center is located at 1314 Mulberry Avenue in Muscatine, Iowa. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday evenings until 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated.