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Sabbion's criticism


Matter is molded into shapes and color, images are born of it, sensibilities and emotions are enriched, and in the abstractions are found the colors and shapes that caress the viewer's eyes to take him to a world made of dreams, of imaginative visual surrealities. In painting, pigments and materials conquer the space of the canvas, which becomes the page of a book to be told where ideas find the necessary strength to be expressed, where signs are transformed into impressions, where silences scream in expressive force and the gazes that rest on them tear through the darkness around them.

The vigor that emerges from Silexile's color is never equal in impetus, in emotional force and in intensity of execution, the brush sometimes glides, at others it stands between the hands and the support on which it will leave its color. The gestures that make up this coloristic dance seem to change ceaselessly, almost as if a kaleidoscope were in front of one's eyes that is grafted between phantasmagorical alternations of lights, colors and different images that come out where a single frame depicted collects a moment that becomes eternal.

The material used made of natural pigments, becomes the medium for a synaesthetic generation, for a vision that becomes a tactile sensation succeeding in transforming the painting as an investigation of a laceration that digs to get to the soul, to the essence of things beyond the two-dimensional surface.

Silexile frees forms and colors to arrive at the rediscovery of other conformations in his compositions, because this is what they are, compositions with an almost sonorous rhythm, liquid projections that expand on the canvas where matter is freed and is shaped as if it were a hot lava magma or a consistent cutaway of marble, silent and persistent that expands on the support and oversteps the surface, escaping from the physical limits imposed. The frames do not become the window of the painting, but rather the opening to the space depicted, the painting does not remain confined to the canvas, but continues outside to become an integral part of the viewer's life.

The artist's state of mind goes beyond the material aid that is no longer enough and it becomes essential to go beyond the boundary state of pictorial perimeters. It is a visual retrieval almost quotable from the works of artists such as Georges Seurat with his frames that complete and continue the painted space through pointillisme, to the works of Robert Delaunay with his fenêtres point of departure for the representation of light and the dynamics of colors, where the object has lost its importance in favor of light, the creative principle. Without forgetting in the contemporary world the "invaded frames" of Mario Schifano with the painting that "continues" in the frame.

The liberation of forms and color is combined with the material that Silexile uses harmoniously on the canvas in order to arouse as many emotions as possible from anticipation to fear, from solitude to silence, from dream to reality. It is a game of visions, fixed observations that are masterfully re-presented by the artist for the eyes and souls of the viewers, immersive visions that no longer leave the viewer and, as Jean Dubuffet stated, "True art is where no one expects it, where no one thinks about it or speaks its name. Art is above all vision, and vision, many times, has nothing in common with intelligence nor with the logic of ideas."

Massimiliano Sabbion, art critic and historian

Bound & Lettered


His name is Stefano Gelao, an eccentric man with a curled up moustache, wearing a Leonardesque hat and looking like he came out of a Caravaggio painting - a scribe work- ing with quills, parchment, and handmade iron gall ink. Her name is Gaia Perotto, a blue-haired woman with diaphanous skin and eyes that match the sky, looking like she has stepped out of an anime – a professional artist, pursuing realism in art. Separately they have both had professional success. He directs a scriptorium with exposure through major European exhibitions, at MENSA conferences, and at universities. She has many clients, including such music luminaries as Alice Cooper and Joe Perry, and has provided art for a custom shirt for Johnny Depp. They have known of each other for several years and have followed each other's achievements with interest. Stefano, from time to time, used to professionally court Gaia, asking her to collaborate with him on a project, but she always said no, fearing the meeting between the unfamiliar and laborious historical materials of his work and her modern techniques. Finally, she accepts the invitation to collaborate. One day at Stefano's scriptorium, while working on a project together, their eyes meet above the parchment. He lays down his feather quill, she puts down her pencil, and their lives intertwine in everyday life and work. Stefano's tastes, inclinations, and sensitivity are quite different from Gaia's, and this results in a lively creative process. He is deeply fascinated by history and revels in the past. Gaia, in contrast, is very much rooted in the present. She is guided by what is beautiful and what works, without any historical reverence. Confronted with a thirteenthcentury miniature, she will declare with bold honesty, “It can be done better." The collaborations between Stefano and Gaia are, at the moment, mainly developed within the scriptorium's projects, and Gaia has found herself projected into an unusual world for a modern-day portrait artist, pushed by Stefano to use the techniques and materials of ancient manuscripts. For scriptorium projects and commissions, decisions about themes and overall guidelines are usually up to Stefano. But once the theme has been figured out and the materials have been gathered, the two enter another phase, made up of long discussions, scribbled sketches, rough drafts, and color tests, all needed to finalize the layout and the techniques and styles of letterform and illustration that will be used. Then the real work begins on a piece. Gaia does the illustrative elements first, and Stefano adds the lettering to complete the work. He is constantly impressed as Gaia meets every new challenge given, whether illuminated capital letters, Victorian crosshatchings, or realistic drawings on vellum. He tries not to be a bit jealous of her versatility, which helps them pursue and complete their most ambitious ideas. For days, the scriptorium is filled with music, both of them bent over their desks, brushes and pencils and quills moving and flowing on parchment. Their story together has just begun.

Parchments Stretched within a Frame

Among Stefano's specialties are parchments stretched within a frame. It is an uncommon and rarely practiced technique that borrows from the parchment-maker's process. Stefano performs all the frame making and stretching procedures himself. The frame is custom-made, tailored on the chosen vellum's size, using sturdy woods capable of resisting the tension that the stretched parchment will cause. He favors the same fine goat parchment still used by the Apostolic See for certain important documents. He carefully selects whole skins to be framed. The stretching technique varies depending on each parchment's resilience and elasticity; the toughest can be stretched either by piercing the parchment or by wrapping the skin's edges around river stones. For the more delicate skins, he prefers using the river-stone method, which is gentler than the piercing one. River stones are chosen over other stones because they're generally rounder, making them more compatible with the stretching technique. After the skin and the stretching method have been chosen, the vellum is soaked in water, then placed within the frame. The ropes, through the slits or tied around the stones, are pulled around the frame and tightened, stretching the vellum taught. When the vellum is dry and the stretching is set, the ropes are left around the frame or, more often, fastened to metal stays in the frame with the excess rope cut off. At this point, the stretched and framed vellum is ready to be treated with pumice stone. And then, at last, it's going to be written on and decorated.

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