Art News Review – Summer 1987

Delabano’s garishly colored, allegorical paintings and sculptures are laden with symbolic references to history, religion and philosophy.  In these recent works, heady colors and sensuous brush strokes partly camouflage ominous and oppressive meanings, but a nightmarish aura always seeps through.

Teeming with many of the same symbols he has been using since the early 1980’s, Delabano’s recent autobiographical narratives portray a burdened soul, weighted down with problems and torn by conflicts.  The predominant image based on the Greek mythological titan Atlas – is a naked man carrying a heavy sphere (sybolic of the world) on his back.

For example, in the painted wood relief titled “At Last”  a narrative set in a lush green field with a clear blue sky above – the Delabano-as-Atlas figure seems to be nearing the end of his journey, perhaps to paradise.  But in most works the protagonist appears bent by the weight of his load.

Delabano’s most evocative new painting, titled “The Allegory Tree, depicts a Gauguineque female nude asleep at the foot of a standing male figure who is being transformed into a tree.  A more animated and more intense piece, the larger-than-life-size sculptural tableau, “Living in a World of Opposing Forces” pits the burdened Atlas against a frivolous character who is throwing care symbolically to the winds.


The most ambitious works in the show were full-size mock-ups for proposed outdoor sculptures to be executed in cast iron, a material Delabano has already mastered.  One piece, titled “Director”, portays a primitive male version of a mermaid atop a coiled funnl or screw.  The second model, “Being a Loner He Could Afford to Be a Free Thinker”, depics a huge snail shell perched on a pyramid, with a face visible a the shell’s orifice.

Janet Kutner