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Mandarins and Madagascar

For those who prefer to take in the poetry of a painting with less crowds, Studio Hart in Allentown offers the opportunity to absorb the arts scene in a more private setting. Although it is a smaller-scale studio, Studio Hart constantly alternates new and established artists, showing both national and regional exhibits at a local level.
The newest exhibit, Quiet Life: Madagascar Paintings by Joseph Radoccia will open Tuesday, February 12th with a reception from 6 to 8 PM, and run through Saturday, March 22nd.
Currently based in Brooklyn but raised in Buffalo, Radoccia’s work has been featured in galleries throughout the United States and more locally at the Albright-Knox, Burchfield-Penney and Hallwalls. His paintings and sculptures address urgent social issues, ranging from Apartheid to AIDS. For the past fifteen years, Radoccia has divided his time between Brooklyn and Antananarivo, Madagascar during which a recent six-month stay inspired him to paint the current “Quiet Life” series.
Of his work, Radoccia said, “I consider my painting an ongoing practice–a continuous process of asking questions and seeking answers.”
Recently, Radoccia has taken a different approach to painting, switching from storyteller to observer, which has driven him to change his artistic style from narrative and figurative paintings to still life renderings. Radoccia describes his “Quiet Life” series, as “living memory maps.” He added, “I found that when I moved my eye over the surface [of the painting], like fingers over Braille, I accessed total recall in minute detail of everything that surrounded me while painting each composition. The sounds, the exact light, music, and even full conversations…everything surfaced as in a vivid dream.”
He further adds to this by citing that a simple painting of mandarins and papaya “becomes a map of two women arguing beyond the compound wall, as the sky filled with afternoon rain.” He says, “When I pull back and look at the paintings now, I see and feel everything except the objects depicted. I am returned to Madagascar.”
Studio Hart is located at 65 Allen Street and features an ongoing exhibit of jewelry designed by Barbara Hart, with rotating art shows every 6-8 weeks.
Gallery hours: 10:30AM – 2PM, Tuesday – Friday and by appointment
716.536.8337 or

Written by Carolyn Batt

Carolyn Batt

Carolyn Batt is a Buffalo marketing director by day and international traveler the rest of the time--although always returning to her home for the past 12 years in Allentown.

View All Articles by Carolyn Batt
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