Reverence to Dharma
The Work of Michael Costantini
I found the work of Michael Costantini while on my own journey. Discoveries are never purely accidental nor wholly unanticipated. Just as metaphor speaks to us, at once,
indirectly and directly, I experienced and visualized in his work events that I can describe as complete, as an inner sighing sensation, as knowing directly the work was right and proper. I compare this experience to a poem by Miloscz, a line of which reads:
"...I was left behind with the immensity of existing things. A sponge, suffering because it cannot saturate itself; a river, suffering because reflection of clouds and trees are
not clouds and trees."1
Contemporary culture calls what Costantini has: "the right stuff." It is surely the correct and complimentary combination of scholarship, vision and dexterity essential to
formulate individual artistic significance.
It is customary for a critical essay about an artist's work to make clever comparatives with classical, known art. Proper examples exist, yet Costantini's work stands uniquely apart. I
could make comparisons with
former Sonoma County artist Marc DiSuvero, whose sculpture is monumental with industrial gestures that fuse wonderfully to form objects that human scope can contain. DiSuvero chose a palate for his work from tools and products of modern society--construction steel and plowshares. Perhaps it is in these contemporary materials that his hook to our sensitivities lies.
With the sculpture of Costantini, I feel the presence of older, pre-human icons, perfectly
monumental. The work is breath-taking as I realize and foresee their logical consequence. These works of art stand like inventions of a majestic, quiet, cosmic intelligence that are to be placed among us as reminders, recollections of our own compounded origin that include the dimension of time. They echo his innate attraction to a formality inherent in universal matter, paradoxically enormous, ungraspable, beyond reach and infinitesimally small, atomic. And, these perceptions can evoke ideas of ancient cultures and times, times now lost to history, pyramids, invented gods, human sacrifice, human dignity, love.
I have lived with the work of Michael Constantini for many years. I study
it daily where it hangs on the walls about me. In the room where I compose and perform music, I surrounded myself with huge scale paintings which properly combine with the music of my heart. In the garden, the earthly connectedness of his immutable bronze pieces harmonize with the changing sculpture of a living nature. The formality seems at first to bear no resemblance to human or even animal origins, until one waits and watches.
I commend his work to all sentient souls.
Jack Leissring - Santa Rosa, 1999