'Not just a happy accident but an opera d’arte’

Catherine Sinclaire Galea delves into the work of Italian painter Mariella Crosio, who is currently exhibiting her latest collection of paintings at Opus 64 Galerie, Tigne Street, Sliema.

Mariella Crosio, an accomplished and internationally acclaimed artist was born in Turin, Italy in 1957 where she grew up and graduated in English Language and Literature before moving to the United States to further her Art studies.

At the Art Students’ League in New York, Crosio attended Sydney Simon’s sculpture classes. This study is evident in the decorative 3D effect semi-abstracts.

‘The outer surface of [the artists’] inner talent’ and soul are able to penetrate genuinely through the paint layers only when this ‘soul’ is nurtured and lovingly educated, Kandinsky insists in his book Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Crosio has pursued this study of psychology and philosophy of art as well as its symbolism.

An anthropological presence also expresses hints of features and figures veiled, yet visible, from below the selected surface. Crosio is currently exhibiting new works at Opus 64 Galerie, Tigne Street, Sliema, in an exhibition entitled L’Umanita Velata (Humanity Veiled). Here, varied techniques and textures are employed, and bear testament to her further art methodology studies in Turin and Venice ateliers.

Besides the use of oil and acrylic in her painting, Crosio also enjoys zinc etching and wood engraving.

Visitors to the gallery are credited by Crosio with the intelligence to make up their own minds on the symbolism emanating from the paintings. Are ‘the eyes’ being observed or are they watching? Are the beings about to penetrate the surface or do they enjoy being silent witnesses backstage?

Art patrons and owners of Crosio’s art are invited to question alone, as well as in the company of others. Titles also are left to the onlooker’s imagination.

Each artwork renews itself as different reflections appear on the shapes, colours and symbolism. Dr Busetti – speaking at the exhibition of Crosio’s work at the Instituto di Cultura in Valletta last March – noted that visitors wondered whether these women vied for attention with their expressions or whether they were all-knowing wise eyes. This subtlety allows the observer to participate actively in the artwork.

The eminent historian Giorgio Aneddu saw Crosio’s painting as being “perceived as a poetical choice in the determination of being itself – and that’s the charm – always with a longing for beauty, or with an extreme and dreamy veil of poetry.”
 We spoke to Crosio about various aspects of her work.

The human figure
I used to paint and draw the human figure for a long time, but my preference has always gone to the tracts that affect a deep interpretation of the individual… that is to say – faces, eyes, posture of the body in a given scene. In a sort of evolution, the human figure in my artwork lost most of its details and became more symbolic.

It remained as a constant presence, but not so imposing in the whole structure. Eyes, in this exhibition, are just there to mean that humanity is present, but is not the centre of the scene – it has to be searched, by the observer, and the eyes are the only faded remains that attest to the human presence.

The level of reality has passed through stages; from a very personal environment related to the everyday life of the human being to a social context where humans have expanded into a total vision, embracing ‘the one’ which should be the final path.

Intellectual influences
The vision that I developed over the years of thinking and studies in the fields of philosophy and psychology, as well as a few years of cooperation with the late Dr Silvia Montefoschi (a friend and a Jungian analyst) have brought me to a conviction that relations are essential in our society.

My reflection goes beyond, overcoming boundaries which, with a quantum leap of thought, we can connect with the questions and answers that dog humanity – the fear of dying, sense of the sacred, the idea of God, seen as the supreme being or concept, as religion or mythology (not intended as a dogma) and the question of love (in a wide sense, as mystic not material).

I work only when I am inspired and moved by a deep and strong feeling. I have the technical and experimental competence to adapt according to the idea or media and my original intention of expression so that it is not just a happy accident but an ‘opera d’arte’, like any poem or piece of music. It becomes the dynamic of an entire life, the result of previous thought and constantreflection – not predictable; providing the only acceptable proof of validity, that is ‘the truth’ – the authentic performance.      

The exhibition will remain open until April 30 at Opus 64 Galerie, Tigne Street Sliema. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:30 to 13:00 and 16:30 to 19:00.

For more information contact 21 323206; email [email protected]; www.opus64galerie.com.