David Macaluso Creates Art With Used Motor Oil

October 5, 2009 / 1 Comment

david macaluso4 David Macaluso Creates Art With Used Motor Oil

David Macaluso paints with used motor oil.

For Brooklyn-based artist David Macaluso, it’s all about oil.

Motor oil, that is.

Used motor oil, to  be exact.

You see, Macaluso has been painting with the stuff since 2005.

Why? Because used motor oil, he says, represents both an artistic exercise in recycling and a powerful metaphor for this time in world history.

Consider the piece, “War is the Truest Form of Divination,” pictured below.

Macaluso describes it as an abstract work exploring a dialogue between two great literary quotations about war. One quote is written along the top of the paper, and the other is written along the bottom. Each quote is repeated several times in an increasingly abstract manner toward the paper’s center, where the two quotes converge in an entanglement of lines.

War is the Truest Form of Divination3 David Macaluso Creates Art With Used Motor Oil

"War is the Truest Form of Divination," used motor oil and graphite on paper, 22 in. x 30 in., 2006

Along the top of the paper, Macaluso scrolled a quote from Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian.” Along, the bottom, you’ll find part of Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.”  From top to bottom, the two quotes read like this:

(McCarthy) “War is the Truest Form of Divination. It is the testing of one’s will and the will of another within that larger will which because it binds them is therefore forced to select. War is…”. (And Lincoln) “…for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated…”.

In retrospect, Macaluso says he was motivated to create this work by a combination of personal and historical factors.

“For this piece, I was inspired by concepts of life and death and time,” he explains. “In 2006, when I created it, I was thinking a lot about cause and effect, and how local events have global impact. Also, I was reflecting on oil as an energy source that arguably effects every aspect of life in the world and especially, but not exclusively, the domestic and international affairs of the United States.”

“War is the Truest Form of Divination” will be on exhibit at “ReMade,” an art show celebrating the inventive use of recycled, reclaimed, or renewable materials, sponsored by “g” Green Design Center, in Mashpee, MA, from October 9 through November 30.

To Macaluso, painting with motor oil he collects from a local auto mechanic is one way he connects his art with a larger commitment to sustainability.

“I think sustainability encourages a total re-envisioning of life, across the spectrum: from energy questions and global concerns, to concepts of identity and individual and group behavior, to natural and man-made systems,” he explains.

Price Ripples david macaluso

“Price Ripples,” used motor oil and graphite on paper, 22 in. x 30 in., 2006.

Macaluso grew up on Long Island, New York and currently resides in Brooklyn. You can see more of his extensive portfolio at his website: www.davidmacaluso.com.

Contact him directly at david.macaluso@gmail.com

Related content: Recession inspires artist Jaynie Crimmins to create with shredded paper and beeswax