It has been more than a decade since John Giarrizzo has exhibited in Billings, but his work will be featured beginning Wednesday and continuing to March 8 at Ryniker-Morrison Gallery in Tech Hall on the campus of Rocky Mountain College.
Giarrizzo will give a noon gallery talk in the gallery on Thursday, Feb. 14. There will be a reception, free and open to the public, the same day from 4 to 7 p.m.
His exhibit, titled "Between the Lines," will include new oil paintings and watercolor studies of baseball. As the father of a son who loved baseball and played on Little League, Babe Ruth and American Legion teams and went on to play college baseball at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore., Giarrizzo began to see the game differently than he knew it growing up in Cleveland as a die-hard fan of the Cleveland Indians.
"Images of baseball serve as a metaphor for studying human beings in space and time. The season is long and mostly slow, repetitious, mundane and uneventful until a moment changes everything. It is more about the pursuit than any one single accomplishment. Statistics matter only over a long period of time," he said.
Following his son's baseball trek, Giarrizzo drove hundreds of miles to Wyoming towns like Rock Springs, Gillette, Worland and Cowley to watch and sketch young baseball players pursuing their dreams. This exhibit is a tribute to his passion for those small towns and their baseball fields, and the human spirit played out in every game.
Giarrizzo is remembered for his "Guardian Children," which was exhibited in the Yellowstone Art Museum in 1992. Then he brought back to the museum his "Mia Famiglia" exhibit in 1995. Those exhibits included hard-to-forget images from the 17th-century Italian artist Caravaggio that served as the background to images of contemporary Italians. Giarrizzo started visiting Italy in 1985, and those images recorded his passion for the place.
Giarrizzo is an associate professor of art at Northwest College in Powell, Wyo., where he has been teaching since 1981. He is the recipient of the Wyoming Governor's Art Award in 2003, two Wyoming Arts Council Fellowships in Painting (1987, 1993) and served two Ucross Residencies (1987, 2004). His work is in the permanent collections of the Yellowstone Art Museum and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. He has an MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Colorado, Boulder.