Fabio Dal Boni Sees the Light at AlexArt International

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BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY NOV 17, 2017

Picking his way through Antelope Canyon, the Italian artist Fabio Dal Boni searches for the perfect shot. A visitor on this Navajo land by the Arizona/Utah border, he relies on the native guides for help—and if they like Dal Boni, they’ll show him the secret, if not sacred, spots that few outsiders have the privilege to see. The Navajo call the upper canyon Tsé bighánílíní, “the place where water runs through rocks,” but Dal Boni’s looking for light.

“I want to capture the light and transform it into a piece of art,” says Dal Boni, whose first Sarasota show—Creatures of Light—opened last night at AlexArt International Gallery. A photographer and a painter, Dal Boni melds the two in his digital fine art, borrowing the strengths of both in his quest to capture on the canvas what he sees in his mind. Only instead of canvas, it’s sublimated aluminum. The process is long and complex and only a handful of places in the US can even do what Dal Boni requires, but the result—dramatic, vivid, with an interior dimensionality—speaks for itself.

The process typically begins with one of Dal Boni’s photographs. Printing the photograph, Dal Boni brings his painterly skills to bear, using oils to heighten the colors, add textural flourishes and transform the reality of the photograph into what he saw in his mind when he took the shot. Taking a separate photo of the painted photo gives Dal Boni a two-dimensional version to handle, which he can either send through the painting process again or move on to perform some digital touch-ups. Once satisfied, he prints the final image using special inks, and an intense application of heat and pressure—sublimation—transfers the ink straight from the paper to a treated aluminum panel, destroying the paper in the process.

Eventually, Dal Boni’s Navajo guides did show him their favorite sites, and visitors to Creatures of Light will get a chance to see the results of that trip, as well as new material inspired by the artist’s time in Sarasota and Bradenton. “It’s an incredible place of light,” says Dal Boni, and although his travels have taken him fairly around the globe, he finds something singular about his new environs. “You have to work with this light,” he says, where sunrises and sunsets appear like “explosions of color,” or something breaking through from the heavens.

For Alexa Scanziani, owner of AlexArt International, bringing in Dal Boni was a natural expansion for a gallerist looking to bring more Italian artists to Sarasota. An exclusive gallery for the artist Massimo Meda in its first year, Dal Boni is only the first of many Italian artists Scanziani hopes to introduce to Florida audiences. Meda’s work will remain in a permanent collection, but now in conversation with others.

Creatures of Light runs through Jan. 16 at AlexArt International Gallery, next to the Sarasota Opera House.

Pictured: "Sunset on the Hidden Isle" by Fabio Dal Boni. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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