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Artist has love for rusted and distressed

April 24th, 2015

Written by Tim Higgins for the Morning Call

Domenick Naccarato paints the things in life you might otherwise ignore. Rusted elbow pipes, water gauges and ventilation screens — the things you might find abandoned in an alley — are all noticed by Naccarato because he finds beauty in them. He turns the mundane into something provocative.

His solo show of 15 paintings is on display at the Kemerer Museum in conjunction with the museum’s “Steampunk” exhibition.

“I thought my stuff was fitting,” says Naccarato, 38, of Macungie. “I’m not Steampunk per se, but my industrial abstract kind of work fits in.”

Naccarato’s paintings are composed of the stuff of industry and their intent is to present its beauty much as a landscape artist presents a tree or a meadow.

Explains Naccarato, “I find inspiration in old, weathered surfaces — the back of a tractor trailer on the highway, a set of concrete stairs that I’m walking up, or the side of an old barn. I’ll often see little vignettes in these surfaces that I then attempt to either re-create in my paintings or use as a basis for their composition.”

“I try to make my art look like I went to the back of a dumpster and put it on the wall,” he says. His works are not about the garbage, but about the symbols and icons found on walls or the side of a tanker car. Corporate words and barely remembered serial numbers captured in a painterly patina, sometimes the color of rust, industrial paint or metal enamel.

“In my mind the color is almost secondary to what I’m trying to accomplish,” says Naccarato. “It’s about the markings.”

Found objects — whether industrial material, pipes, grates, nails, bolts — are applied to sheet metal or wood panels. In some cases, Naccarato begins with the object and slowly builds his compositions around them. “It’s like walking down the aisle of a Home Depot,” he says of his process.

Naccarato has been assembling metal and wood with paints, stains and miscellaneous hardware for more than 30 years. He regularly paints on plywood and other hard-surfaced materials and uses a variety media, including traditional oil and acrylics, wood stains, house paint and joint compound and roofing tar.

Tim Higgins is a freelance writer.


*When: Through Nov. 1

*Where: Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts, 427 N. New St., Bethlehem.

*Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays through Sundays

*How much: Admission to the Kemerer Museum is Included with Pass Into History — $12, $15, $20 — which includes admission to 2, 3 or 4 Historic Bethlehem sites and lasts a year.

*Info: 610-868-6868,

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