Ilaria Berenice is an Italian artist who uses color and loose forms to express herself on paper. Her works keep their wet, fluid feel even though the paint has long been dry. Every stroke looks intentional and spontaneous all at once, and the bright colors she uses brings every shape and form to life. She studied anthropology and ethnology at the University of Siena, but didn’t begin painting until traveling through Brazil, Italy and Spain in the early 2000s.
Now, her work has has been exhibited all over Italy and featured in multiple publications including the Spanish critic Eva Minguet Camara’s 2008 book “Ilustraciòn de vanguardia” (“Art illustration”). This past summer Ilaria had a solo exhibition at one of the biggest castles in Europe, at Castel Brando, between Venice and the Dolomites.
When you sit down to complete a portrait, do you already have an idea of how realistic you want to convey the sitter?
When I started to make committed portraits with oil, the goal was to make them as realistic as possible. But when I make them with mixed media, I just catch the glimpse of the soul and personality of the person, or just an aspect, while playing and having fun with the sign between shadows and lights, and strangely enough they look more familiar with the sitter than the realistic ones, to me.
You write that your collection of “Visionary” work is inspired by momentary situations and ideas. Can you tell us the story behind your mixed media work “Venice”?
I love the work “Venice,” overall because is the latest one. Well I just played with stains of blue and green, made of pigments, glue and water, then I let the work on the easel appear whatever. The day after I saw Venice on it, I just allowed what I saw to come out.
What do you use for reference in your anatomy drawings?
I did them last winter at the Brera academy here in Milan where there is a real skeleton. While for the muscles I used pictures, and for the people I used real people, all in the class of the artist and professor Maria Tcholakova.
“Anatomy 9,” 28 x 42 cm
Which masters of art are you most inspired by? Are there any modern artists you look up to as well?
As way of proceeding I’m quite independent as I began as self taught, but I read some books along the years that inspired me a lot or that I identified with, especially “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards, “Concerning the spiritual in art” by Wassily Kandinsky and “Stroke by Stroke” by Henri Michaux. Then last winter I attended the Brera academy in Milan – I knew professors that are great artists also, and I got very inspired by them over all by Barbara Giorgis and Maria Tcholakova, so much that this year I will attend again.
When did you first think of the idea for your Stains series? What do the shapes you paint look like to you?
For the stains I got inspired and started by artist and professor Barbara Giorgis, then of course I developed them in my own way. I just play with colours and shapes and then I let the intuition work for me.
“Venice,” 25 x 35 cm
What’s your earliest memory of creating/painting/drawing?
My great-great father was a painter. He never taught me anything, but when as a child I went to visit, I always found a blank canvas and colors ready to be used in his studio. So without saying anything while the adults chat, I went to his studio and did a painting, it was like a mutually concealed understanding. He appreciated a lot even though he was not a man of many words. Later I stopped painting for many many years, until I started again when I lived in Brazil about at the age of 28, doing lots of collages with founded objects, and later adding on paint.
My eternal love for Breaking Bad has seeped into every part of my life. This is the final stage – blogging about Breaking Bad art.
I spend enough time on Reddit to know that there are some incredibly talented fans of the show. Each character depicted has so much emotion seeping out of them as we remember every tragic/insane event along the Walter White timeline to Heisenberg. And then whatever that guy from New Hampshire’s name is. Every work drawing from the power of the most intense show that’s ever existed, so that bright colors and sharp edges can get in your face, ASAC Schrader-style.
She leans forward laughing, and her hair streams behind her head like the tail of a shooting star. Dan McDermott’s paintings put the scene in fast forward, including present and almost-present scenes together in a way that makes the action look like it’s happening at light speed.
In the stiller scenes, the paint casts the image through a 1950s television screen – almost clear but with slightly distorted colors and fuzzy details. McDermott’s paintings shows the past as we would remember it if we’d lived through it ourselves – fleeting happy memories and faces frozen in time.
“His extensive body of work is derived from an ever expanding archive of images that for him have an emotional resonance, frozen frames from film and television that are trapped within the decades from which they were born.
The final choice of image will have gone through several layers of processed visual media which McDermott is somehow able to capture in the fast and energetic application of paint.”
Jed Leiknes’ work is kind of frightening, but in a haunted house/horror movie kind of way. Flesh melts and skulls stare straight at you without eyes. Everything looks like it’s on fire but somehow isn’t burning. The paint looks so alive, like somehow it’s still moving even after it’s dry.
Which is what makes Leiknes’ time lapse video so consuming – you watch the paint in action before the show even starts. Because the colors don’t really get to work until the image is complete.
Iris Grace is one incredible 3-year-old. Well, technically she’s three and a half. It’s difficult for her to interact with others because she has autism, which keeps her from speaking, but she’s able to express herself through art and movement. One of her favorite things to do is paint, and the works she creates could fit right in at a gallery featuring interpretations of Monet’s Water Lilies.
Sometimes her colors get chaotic, but in every painting there’s always an overwhelming sense of balance and calm. Bright colors in watercolor and acrylic splash to fill up each canvas, and even though the works would technically be considered abstract, each feels more like a landscape, or rather a place – an abstract place where things are simple, beautiful and bright.
Her mother writes:
“Iris loves nature, water, flowers, trees, wind, books, pictures, dancing on tip toes and always carries something in her left hand.”
“Music at Sunrise”
Iris’ parents have been sharing her paintings online, raising awareness for autism and the National Autistic Society and the Autism Research Trust. Now Iris’ talent has been featured in every major UK newspaper, along with most online news resources in the US. They’ve also begun selling Iris’ originals and prints to raise funds for her treatment. From August 18th – August 29th they’ll be auctioning off her piece, “Follow the Fleet,” by email bids.
Even though everyday things are more difficult, Iris has a lasting attention span when it comes to painting, spending around two hours on each piece. When she’s in the mood to paint, she lets her parents know by pointing at her mug and brush sitting near the sink. She points to the colors she wants to use from the paints in the cupboard, and they mix the paints with water for her. She tests them out, taking them back for remixing if they’re not the right consistency. She’s even starting making her own colors, dipping her brush in multiple mugs before bringing the color to the paper.
Iris flicks and dabs the paint, using different rollers, sponges and brushes to get the effects she’s looking for. Since she can’t speak, her parents name the paintings for her, using their content or Iris’ mood as a guide.
“She used to be consumed by books, eye contact was a rare occurrence, she didn’t want to or know how to play with us, showed obsessive behaviours, got desperately distressed when we took her near any other children and her sleep patterns were all over the place,” her mom Arabella writes on her website, “She now rides on my back in fits of laughter, squealing with delight, plays, communicates by creating her own signs and her sleeping is much better.”
She’s a painter in London, working to interpret animals the way we were meant to see them: as sacred beings each granted with an important, specific purpose. In this amazing time-lapse video Louise McNaught documents the creation of an acrylic work that’s plated in a background of gold leaf and decorated in detail with pencil. The video was created in conjunction with her current residency at DegreeArt, and her inaugural show, titled Supernatural, will be on view at the London gallery until the end of this week!
On her Facebook page Louise writes,
“In my world the animals are God-like, sublime and ethereal in their luminescence. My soft style suggests a delicate relationship between nature and ourselves, making a clear point about man’s destruction of nature, which flutters jewel-like in the balance….
The animals that occur in my work predominantly have a connection to Celtic mythology, such as deer, bees, owls, rabbits and butterflies, with otherworldly creatures such as hummingbirds making an entrance from time to time…”
Louise with her piece, ‘Wild-Life’, Size (H x W x D): 91.5 x 183 x 5 cm Acrylic, spray paint and pencil on canvas (2013). From the artist’s Facebook.
Louise on this piece, ‘Wild-Life’:
“This piece is from my ‘wild’ series, which are about nature wearing the colours of man like war paint, trying to adapt to man’s intervention. The fluorescent paint also looks like energy radiating from the animal, as it is painted on the places I find most intense, usually around the eyes, radiating down the neck – wherever there is tension. I use a lot of hummingbirds in my work as I find them magical and otherworldly, they are so tiny and beautiful they almost seem as they are not part off this world, like they exist on another dimension. Here they are forming the figure 8 on its side, which is the symbol for life, eternity and reincarnation. The hummingbird also flys in this formation as it is the only bird that can fly backwards. The colours are moving through the formation to show they are all part of the same flow of energy…..”