Reviews and previews
Lucia Vernarelli [Artists; May 2--21], born in this country of Italo-American
parents, studied at the American Artists School under Solman. Since her first
stay in Italy in 1949 which brought a new sensibility to her painting, she has
shown in many group shows, but very fittingly made her debut in Florence last
summer. Her first one-man show in New York consists of still-lifes and portraits
in oil, and collages. Intimacy with the principles of the Italian Renaissance
and a very personal feeling for her New York surroundings are blended in an understanding
so unforeseen that its effect on the viewer is magical. Blues, imperceptibly shining
purple and pinks, muted golden yellows and earth colors sift in an aura of dusk
and clear stillness. Household objects rest in a clearing where longing has been
distilled, the rushing of time is stopped. Entering a world where the mystery
of an array of small objects, each quietly and precisely guarding its own little
personality, is bypassed by daily time, one leaves other moods and judgments behind.
Unintellectual and poetic, made by artless pleasure in slow care and an intuitive
process faithful to the first vision, Vernarellis canvases are among the
most unusual this season. The collages are purer than many shown today. They make
nostalgia tangible and allude with silver and gold, with shreds of print, to the
domes and public squares of historical Italy and its landscape. The large version
of Pulcinella was the backdrop for Bolenders ballet, Games, at last years
Spoleto festival. $75-$300.
May 1959IN THE GALLERIES
Lucia Vernarelli: People and still objects are studied carefully for their essential
shapes and postures. In Miss Vernarellis oils they are presented straightly
and steadily, and invested with an extraordi described simply, with broad, flat
areas of paint enclosed by linear definition; this comes off most beautifully
in the head of the younger figure in a double portrait. The color is carefully
arranged to maintain exquisitely tasteful low-key relationships, yet can surprise
you with the odd particular relationships that help to compose that general sense.
This painting seems to be informed by early Italian frescoes as well as by early
twentieth-century European art; these sources can fuse with the artist=s intense
sense of the arrangement that will suit her equally intense sense of her subject.
Delicately made collages, in which taste and nostalgia take over, are also shown.
The combination is a light and pleasing relaxation of effort.
(Artists, May 2--21.)--A.V.