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Luciano Ventrone | Opera Pittorica | London and New York

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Friday, 15 March 2024 to Saturday, 20 April 2024

Italian master, Luciano Ventrone, had a long and successful career. His professional activity spanned almost eight decades - he was exhibiting paintings from 1956 until 2021. His legacy is a remarkable body of figurative painting, which articulates and investigates the nature of pictorial representation, its perception and interpretation.

Born in 1942 in Rome into a humble background, he showed an interest in art from a very early age. He later claimed such a vocation to be innate and that his path was set and unwavering from childhood. At eighteen he embarked on his art training at the Liceo Artistico in Rome where he came under the aegis of several distinguished masters of Italian abstract painting. From this point Ventrone launches himself into a series of programmatic and thoughtful explorations of modes of painting. Like all young artists Ventrone experiments with differing themes and methods. His early work is in the tonal figurative tradition of the Scuola Romana. For a period he was heavily influenced by Morandi, then Leger and Gestalt theory, where he essays abstract studies in pure form and colour. By the 1970s the use of organic forms and the influence of Escher and science fiction imagery are apparent. Subsequently the human body and figuration reasserts itself and a series of technically dazzling paintings featuring light bulbs mark an important thematic development and are a precursor of his mature oeuvre.

Ventrone’s ‘light bulb’ pieces combine the bulb with the human hand and sometimes contain refracted images of Caravaggio’s paintings. They are rendered in a highly realistic style, which reveal the painter’s consummate technical virtuosity. Around this time, we also see the entry of still life into his practice, where he makes a series of anamorphic paintings which document distorted images of fruit and vegetables reflected onto a curved surface. In these manipulations of the elements of light and still-life, both derived from Caravaggio, we see the stripped-down fundamentals of Ventrone’s future production.

The still life compositions are fastidious, exact and painstakingly arranged. The source material of fruit, vegetables and flowers is sorted, considered and analysed for aesthetic effect. Ventrone’s arrangements are absolutely deliberate in order to make the act of painting deliberate. His method is precise, controlled and exhaustingly descriptive. Above all, an ‘organised’ painter, he is not subject to spontaneity or fortuitous accident, but intent on revealing his perceived actuality. There is no interference from gesture or expressive mark – he confronts you with his version of the ‘real’, unmitigated by distracting and unreliable emotion.

It is important to note that Ventrone paints from a photographic source, which would allow for a physical consistency in the subject matter. This, and his ‘realistic’ technique, have aligned him with ‘hyperrealism’. He refuted the label, maintaining his status as an ‘abstract painter’. After all what is a painting, but a sequence of abstractions laid down on a surface to serve as a description of something ‘out there’?

The power of these images is immanent and is intrinsic to the ferocious control exercised over their creation. By stripping away the ‘mark of the hand,’ Ventrone reveals something of an existential and independent truth. Death, decay and resurrection lurk in the language of the still life, as Caravaggio knew full well. Ventrone, rooted in rigorous observation, a relentless quest for excellence and steeped in a comprehensive knowledge of art history continually re-iterates this theme in each sumptuous, inviting assemblage.

Artist ( Description ): 

Italian master, Luciano Ventrone, had a long and successful career. His professional activity spanned almost eight decades - he was exhibiting paintings from 1956 until 2021. His legacy is a remarkable body of figurative painting, which articulates and investigates the nature of pictorial representation, its perception and interpretation.

Telephone: 
+44 20 7730  8777
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74 Newman Street, London W1T 3DB

Pontone Gallery , London

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