A Kind of Wonderland
Daniel Borlandelli's Art Studio

Nestled in a dilapidated building one would market as having character, Daniel Borlandelli’s art studio stands out as a striking contrast to the hallways of peeling paint and stairways crusty with age. Entering the studio felt like stepping through the looking glass to find yourself staring at Wonderland. Every inch of Borlandelli’s studio pulses with shapes, colors, and life. When I visited Borlandelli in December, he was busy preparing the paintings and sculptures for his January exhibition, “Voyeur, Voyeur: a look at our lives.”

“There are so many different lives entangled in New York City,” Borlandelli said, “I have picked this subject, being in a voyeur’s situation, to tell different stories.” One of the paintings included in the series retains the name, “Voyeur, Voyeur,” a vivid portrayal of what may happen within one of the high-rises New Yorkers pass by everyday. This detailed painting strips an apartment building of one of its walls, leaving its inhabitants exposed to both the elements and the voyeur in the corner who watches the goings on from a distance.

On one floor, an attractive woman stands naked in front of a full length mirror, her back to us. Her figure, like many others in his works has a gentle roundness, offset by strong, chiseled lines. “My inspiration for the human body has always been Michelangelo,” Borlandelli said, “Every woman is kind of muscular.” We see in the mirror a contrasting image of an obese, rippling woman, whose figure spills outside the frame of the mirror. Borlandelli described this particular scene as a response to people who take a negative view of themselves. “At the time when I painted this, I was with a partner like that,” Borlandelli said, “It applies to everything in life; it’s about not being at peace with yourself.”

Borlandelli emerges from a family of artists. His great-grandfather of the same name was a woodcarver and furniture builder who emigrated from Italy to Uruguay in 1889, and his grandfather was a sculptor as well. In 1989, our Daniel Borlandelli made a move of his own, this time to New York City, to continue his work in furniture design, painting, and sculpting.

Sculptures will also be present in “Voyeur, Voyeur.” One piece, entitled “ Earthly Paradise,” denotes a tall, dark building crowded with people searching for their paradise. Borlandelli describes this piece as a mix of New York, a place where it’s difficult to find a spot where you feel a little paradise. He envisions this sculpture as a Garden of Eden on top of a tall building, and it seems that Borlandelli has found his own Eden through his dedication to his work. “My religion is my art,” Borlandelli said, “I’m devoted to it as religious people are to religion.”

Daniel Borlandelli’s exhibit “Voyeur, Voyeur: a look at our lives” opens January 8th, from 12-4pm, at 43 8th Ave. in the Meatpacking District. The exhibit will be open to the public Tuesday-Sunday from 11am-7pm.

For a peek at some of the artist’s work, visit www.borlandelli.com.

For more information, including dates for a sculpture exhibit in February, contact yellowsky@verizon.net

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