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The Father, The Son And Apocrypha

We all have faith that we must lodge somewhere: you; the microscope, me; the earth, and the artist? There are two stories present. The first is Apocrypha, a series of works by Davies and Rizkalla and the second is something you cannot see but will soon know.

Davies and Rizkalla present to us Apocrypha; a series of photographs that are meticulous in their detail and exact in their depth and texture. It is an evocative title and encapsulates the resonance of the objects. What we can see is clear – plaster moulds used by someone, somewhere for casting objects. The clarity of the details of rope, wedges of wood and the depth of the seam tell us of the real working nature of them. The inversion here from background process to foreground subject matter is not for irony’s sake but to evoke the simultaneous banality and sacredness of the transformative creative process. It is documented honestly before the viewer, and yet, the mystery remains. Intuitively we know the definition of the output from this process lies hidden within each object, seemingly carved into to the underside of their skin, although we cannot see it. But actually it is not carved, it is the three-dimensional tracing of the original. The original becomes a throw-away. It is obsolete. The point of origin lies no longer within an object but at the heart of the creative impulse.

Tony Scalzo, my father-in-law, was drawn to this process. While the creation of a religious icon amused his communist leanings the irresistible pull of the transformation from dust and water to artefact must have, I feel, fulfilled a greater need to live through making. Countless times he would present to us his recent army of saints or holy persons (Padre Pio was a boom time) to be sold through his community, and would scoff and laugh at how he could make an object that to others was an icon. He would point to the shed, the latex, the plaster dust as if to dispel the mystery, and yet the mystery remained.

Perhaps the final mystery is the process, the collaboration that has come about since Tony passed away and his son Stefano came into possession of the simple and unusual collection. Stefano like his father is drawn to the creative process. So innately aware of the artist, his father, he approached Julie and Alex with these as gifts that are, in a way, not his to give. As a custodian might he passed on the objects and communicated his intuitive knowledge of their meaning. One plus one equals three. The result, Apocrypha, is like a window that was obscured and now has been opened. We can see with clarity what was unseen, but known, before. Apocrypha silently demonstrates the entwining of faith and mystery in the creative life of all.

Vanessa Mooney