Former Italian artist looking for big break in Pittsburgh art scene
Fabrizio Gerbino, a classically trained Italian sculptor and painter, keeps most of his work in a converted church in McKees Rocks, where his studio stores hundreds of paintings.
Born in Italy in 1962, Fabrizio has called Pittsburgh home since the early 2000s when he and his wife, Cynthia Lutz, moved back to her hometown. The wide range of artwork visible in his studio showcases his many talents.
In the early ’90s in Italy, Fabrizio’s practice largely revolved around creating installations out of found industrial materials. Now, nearly 30 years later, Fabrizio is revisiting his past works by translating works he initially photographed back in Italy into abstract paintings on canvas and paper.
“That’s how they used to sell fake flowers,” Fabrizio says. “I do a lot of working with found objects that become a source of inspiration for my paintings.”
Inside his studio, the giant fake flower stands next to his realistic painting of the found object. And although the space doesn’t allow Fabrizio to hang all of his artwork due to the large sizes he often utilizes, anyone who walks through the space can see the immense amount of dedication and work he puts into each and every piece.
Another one of his detailed and intricate pieces documents a controversial statue in Schenley Park. Though Fabrizio says he didn’t create the artwork because of political reasons, the story behind it is grounded in his Italian heritage.
On the eve of Columbus Day in 2020, a statue of Christopher Columbus was covered in plastic after former Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and the city’s art commission recommended the statue’s removal. While many other cities across the country removed their statues of Columbus, citing them as racist symbols following the death of George Floyd, some members of Pittsburgh’s Italian-American community tried to stop the removal.
After seeing the controversy, Fabrizio created a series of paintings with many different angles and perspectives of the covered statue. Each painting depicts the lengthy bright yellow tape surrounding the statue as well as a realistic rendering of the plastic wrapping around the figure.