When Mario Alberico was a young adult, painting became a creative outlet for him to capture the emotional experience of living with a rare and fatal form of bone cancer, Ewing's Sarcoma. With a survival rate of less than a 5% survival he underwent experimental chemotherapy and radiation for the disease. His ongoing suffering, pain and battle for his life resulted in a spiritual catharsis and led to a numinous experience while painting called Contemplation and defined as a sublime state of interior union with God. On a crisp and sunny afternoon looking into a maple tree lined street he discovered the essence of trees and from that day forward Trees became the major theme and the foundation for his art making. This subject matter became connected to his Stations paintings when he contemplated the scripture verse that they "hung Christ from a tree."
“Main St Remembered – Recalling the Discovery of the Essence of Trees”
This is a new series of artwork inspired by the 30th anniversary of one of my spiritual and artistic epiphanies in October 1980. Away from home for the first time, it was my fall semester at the University of Illinois. The transformative event discovering the essence of trees occurred while contemplating a very old sugar maple tree when looking west down Main St and an autumn afternoon.
The sun was brilliant, in a way that only happens on a crisp fall day, and it illuminated the cathedral of trees lining the cobblestone street. Luminous! Standing over 40 feet high, that tree reminded me of recently rising above and surviving my rare and fatal bone cancer. Arresting and golden, the leaves grasped the limbs, vibrant and intense in their final moments. In our conversation, The Tree and I talked about how to live and to die and to live again; with color, passion and intensity.
That’s why I make tree artwork and why I study philosophy, and aesthetics, and art theory. Even after all the studying I fail capturing that sublime experience with writing. So I paint. Like Paul Klee said, “I’m not sure that I could give the same sure lead with words alone.”