John Felice Ceprano
Pursuit of Balance
Born July 6, 1947, Providence, Rhode Island, Immigrated to Canada in 1978, becoming a citizen in 1991.
My first trip to Canada was the Maritimes in 1970, and after seeing the Bay of Fundy with its amazing tidal change, my heart was won and it was just a matter of time before relocating to a country abundant with nature and space.
My educational process began in science and math, with an intention to become a meteorologist. But, when calculus proved beyond my grasp, my physics professor recommended I pursue art instead and do weather as a hobby. I took his advice. These two passions have also created a balance, which has resulted in ecological temporal public art in a natural setting with natural materials.
After receiving the Associate degree in Physics in 1968 from Rhode Island Community College, I then attended the University of Rhode Island, receiving a BFA in printmaking and painting, with a scholarship from the department in 1970. The degree was completed at the University of Ottawa, as final year study abroad. While attending URI, I studied ancient Chinese history. The professor, who became a dear friend, taught us Tao and Buddist principles and philosophy. He explained that to understand the Chinese people one must first learn how they think. At that time, I began Transcendental Meditation providing a perception of balance in al things, natural and man made. It is also the guiding process for the rock sculptures: BALANCE, HARMONY AND PEACE. The TAO balances and harmonizes the space so that everything fits together naturally, as if being there forever. Meanwhile, the Budddist principles allow the "letting go" each winter season when the sculptures are dismantled by the river and ice. I am a reflection of my work, unattached and temporal, strong but fragile.
I also studied photography in an MA program, with a graduate assistantship at Rhode Island College between 1982-1984. This was followed by independent study in non-silver photography at the University of Ottawa until 1990. The non-silver photography is another expression of balance between painting and photography. This intention is now accomplished with the new media technology, taking the initial photographs of the sculptures, reworking them in photoshop and producing them in a painterly fashion on cotton rag.
The rock sculptures began innocently in 1986. I was looking for a private place on the Ottawa River, to photograph, paint and meditate. When I found the site at the Remic Rapids Park, I immediately realized I'd found a 'power spot', a term I learned from the writings of Carlos Castaneda, an anthologist researching the shaman way of life through his teacher, Don Juan Matues, a Yaqui from northwest Mexico in the 1960's. I reflect on all this input prior to finding the site and realize I was made for this particular work and that the site itself called out to me. We have thus had a relationship, which has evolved over nearly 20 years, which is now shared with every person who comes to the site. John F. Ceprano/Fifth Season Magazine/Fall 2005