Front image: Concerto in the Ruins (detail)
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears and eyes.
What would the Romans think of this exhibition?
‘Lost Frescoes’, currently on show at the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery in Nowra, www.shoalhavenartscentre.com.au explores a response to place, antiquity, lost surfaces and ancient imagery. It evolved from 6 weeks in Italy exploring ancient art, and in particular, the leached, eroded surfaces of frescoes at Ostia Antica, (Rome’s port in the second century AD), and Pompeii. What had been the vibrant interior wall decoration of antiquity was faded, crackled and pock marked. The original intention of enhancement is reversed to a naturally decayed graffiti. Fabulous.
The intention of ancient frescoes was to decorate villas and insulae of middleclass Italians with scenes on walls and ceilings.
In this exhibition the smallest artworks address The Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii with reference to realism.
The grainy textures of the depleted surfaces at Ostia Antica are presented in the slightly larger pieces.
The main, largest artworks get in close and concentrate on abstract qualities and tilt their lid to the abstract expressionists. The original intention dissipates and a more ethereal surface remains. However, the ‘Lost Frescoes’ also seek to entertain, distract, create fantasy and pleasure but in a contemporary society.
How is a fresco made? By the application of natural pigments on wet plaster. The plaster absorbs the stains before it dries….a very quick, concise application of pigments that precludes layers of overwork.
Conversely, ‘Lost Frescoes’ celebrate and explore faded pigments which retain intensity at times, then flake and peel off. Evident now are lashings of thick oil paint, delicate glazing, implied or real texture and gestural energy.
These artworks are created to enrich our contemporary lives.
Contact Sue Irvin – 0410 548 656 for studio viewings
Sue Irvin is a contemporary artist from Gerringong, NSW Australia.
Her artworks consist of luscious abstracted oil paintings that reflect her passion for place
‘Odyssey’ is a series of watercolours that reflect the broad cultural and geographical differences of overseas destinations to her beloved Australia. Italy, Oman, Turkey, Egypt, Great Britain and France are featured in the ‘Odyssey’ series. Cappadocia, Turkey is the stimulus for her next exhibition.