SUNDAY is an artists’ book by Joey Cocciardi that was published on the occasion of “The Sunday Painter,” at Gildar Gallery in Denver, Colorado. The exhibition presented a series of performative landscape paintings from Cocciari’s ventures into the Colorado wilderness during the summer of 2015. In his distinctive version of plein air painting, the artist covered three by five foot canvases with DayGlo acrylic, put them in custom built wood crates, and carried them on his back into the wilderness. Once he found a spot that suited him (or simply became too tired of walking), he would set up his easel, and paint the landscape in black and white gestural strokes, leaving an untouched parallelogram in DayGlo somewhere amidst the landscape. The exhibition included brightly-colored straps used to carry the paintings, dangling from its sides.
SUNDAY documents this process, featuring black pages with geological coordinate points directing to Cocciardi’s location in the wilderness, landscape views of his DayGlo covered canvases in nature, and close-up views of brushstrokes, both smooth and expressionistic. The book even documents the insects caught in the wet paint of one of his paintings, emphasizing the artist’s arduous process.
This project offers a juxtaposition of wilderness and modernity, from the traditional, romantic plein air landscape painting, to the harsh lines, geometry, and artificially colored paint of modern architecture. It challenges the ideals and validity of “unchartered wilderness,” of an escape from urban life to a more peaceful, restful one in nature, and privileges process over form. SUNDAY is innovative and thought-provoking, exciting in its absurdity and its fulfillment of the artist’s words: “The sunday painter casting leisure aside for a genuine experience.”