May 8 through July 2014 by appointment only
DIANA TURCO llc Milan
DONNA LEATHERMAN llc
6 to 8, Thursday May 8, 780 Madison Avenue NYC 10065
On May, 8th, in New York, Donna Leatherman llc, a private gallery, meets Contemporary Italian Art with “Nevermore”, a personal exhibition of Francesco Correggia. Born in 1950 in the city of Catanzaro, Italy, living and working in Milan since 1984, Francesco Correggia is contemporary artist who has very clear, precious and almost noble references to Romanticism: to paintings of Friedrich, Constable and Turner, as well as to the tradition of visual poetry with such poets as Coleridge, Wordworth, Shelley, Poe.
The central work of the show, “Nevermore”, gives title to the whole exhibition and comes from Poe’s poem “The Rave”, while the works “Rested the Broad Bright Sun” and “Like clouds” are dedicated to Coleridge. Six big and five small paintings, oil on canvas, will be shown.
The cycle of works chosen for the exhibition in Donna Leatherman’s gallery was conceived as a mixture of two universes of Francesco Correggia: artist’s painting and his poetic inner life, they’re indivisible. Correggia’s art opens those horizons from where appear passages of words, poetic references, whispered metaphors that make think of the very meaning of things, of images, trying to intercept visible and invisible, bringing the viewer to say the unsayable.
“The meaning of my painting can be comprehended in the relationship between word and image, painting and writing. The need to insert poetic and literary texts on the surface of the painting can be seen as a cross-link between the visible and the word or between what is visible in the unspeakable, and what is invisible in what is said”. Francesco Correggia.
Artist Statement Francesco Correggia
The meaning of my painting can be grasped in the relationship between word and image, painting and writing. The need to include poetry and literature on the surface of the painting can be seen as a cross- link between the visible and the word or between what is visible of the unspeakable , and what is the invisible of the speakable . Both the practice of speech and the practice of painting are intertwined referring to other practices , other visions and poetic conjunctions . Also differences in the integration of these practices, always in motion, the appearance of new objects , new landscapes of memory and new metaphors . The same visible is crossed by alphabetic words that somehow refer to the sound of the voice but also to the silence before and after the word , before and after the visible. What I seek to report is the living noise but also the historical background of the painting. My references are the skies of Romantic painting, a Friedrich , Constable , Turner, but also the tradition of the visionary poetry of Coleridge , Wordsworth , Shelley .
The cycle of works for the New York exhibition at the Gallery of Donna Leatherman was conceived as a mixture of two textual universes that of painting and that of the poetic word. Through the same body painting opens horizons where appear the passages of words, poetic references, metaphors whispered, they do think about the meaning of things, images, intercepting the visible and the invisible, bringing the eye of the beholder in the show and say the unsayable.
What I want is that my paintings affirm once again the self-specificity of the framework is not only to place itself on a wall but open horizons and talks with its’ surroundings, open to contemplation inside and outside of its measurement and its limit. Finally, the framework expresses a desire to be discreet, to be part of our lives, of our lives, to make us return from exile in which we are forced by our daily living.
So the painting opens up not only the world but allows us to reflect on how the world is made, yet enjoins us to a new responsibility with respect to the future. In this sense the painting to which I refer cannot look away, others can see the intersections. It is a gesture that gathers all the other gestures prior to a mere gesture of the painter who anticipated a time and extends the recognition of ends in themselves, beyond the sphere of man in a way that is good within him.
Leave my loneliness unbroken!*
by Tatiana Martyanova
Our view…will remain superficial so long as we fail to go back to that origin [of silence],
so long as we fail to find, beneath the chatter of words, the primordial silence,
and as long as we do not describe the action which breaks this silence.
The spoken word is a gesture, and its meaning, a world†
Francesco Correggia is contemporary artist who has very clear, precious and
almost noble references to Romanticism: to paintings of Friedrich, Constable
and Turner, as well as to the tradition of visual poetry with such poets as
Coleridge, Wordworth, Shelley, Poe.
While the paintings “Rested the Broad Bright Sun” and “Like clouds” are
dedicated to Coleridge, the central work of the personal exhibition in Donna
Leatherman’s gallery in New York, “Nevermore”, gives title to the whole show
and comes from Poe’s poem “The Raven”. The painting “Nevermore”, 200x150
cm, oil on canvas, is reminiscence of the poetry of Francesco Correggia’s art,
and is one of the most famous recent artist’s works, notable for its melodic and
dramatic qualities. The colors in all shades of blue in this kind of sky-landscape
in tradition of Friedrich and Turner have well-conceived transcendental nature
and are necessary to create that magic connection on emotional level between
earth and sky, between laic and religious layers of comprehension.
According to the most important theories in art history dedicated to visual
perception, from Panofsky‡, Merleau-Ponty§ and going to classic “Art and
illusion” of Gombrich ** , we can summarize that Francesco Correggia,
conceptual artist in his nature, is very conscious about how make his oeuvre to
be in the center of perception, both direct visual and intuitive. His main aim is to
replace the center to his work, making it protagonist in the inner spectator’s
process of self-knowledge by means of the artist’s painting, for Correggia that
signifies to “have the courage to re-describe the world, to understand its
An interesting fact is that the colors mentioned above, like in major part of
paintings of Francesco Correggia, have dual role: they are those sky-landscapes
that create an enchanted relationship between real world and the world beyond
the painting, but at the same time they are the background that helps to reveal
the intrinsic phrases that are visibly “incised” into the surface of the painting.
Correggia’s lettering has no technological or print-like quality. The words are
comparable to screen stencil, but the phrases are painted with intentional
uncertainty, almost always in white color, they do not divulge anything but
themselves, within their reflective and philosophical sense. I
Starting with a few greatest theorists of psychology of art perception and
notwithstanding all the distinctions made in their analyses were not in the field
of contemporary art, we can consider all the strata and modes of human
perception of visual art allocated by the authors as those authentic ones,
moreover, very actual today in the world of abuse of images and so-called
“clipped” consciousness. On primary, basic level of understanding the viewer
sees the painting in its pure form. On secondary level, conventional subject
matter, the spectator is brought in his subconscious to the equation his cultural
and iconographic knowledge. And, finally, on tertiary or intrinsic meaning,
content stratum, the viewer is taken into account personal, technical, and cultural
history into the understanding of a work. This is iconology.
To let the viewer to get the highest iconology level, Francesco Correggia uses
the text. It’s not new practice in art, we know it both from Modernism and Post
Modernism, as well as in contemporary art, but it is crucial in Correggia’s work.
The artist creates a play where all the roles are very well defined. In fact, both of
the elements, color and text, are essential in Correggia’s sky-landscapes and
have close interaction. Color is the substratum for subconscious perception of
philosophical sense of the phrase revealed in the painting, but at the same time
that philosophical sense of the phrases helps to perceive the correct sensitivity
on emotional level of the colors of the painting.
If we compare, for example, the work of Ed Ruscha, who incorporated words
and phrases into painting, we notice that his phrases are too clear, there is lack
of some mystery, while for Francesco Correggia the enigmatic element is
fundamental in his work: the viewer has to reveal the phrase, to discover it in the
surface of the painting, going inside the sky-landscape. It’s always a torment,
beyond the solitude, for the artist to create the atmosphere to be able to direct the
spectator to enter this mysterious world.
Perhaps it’s not a case that Correggia’s work is now so esteemed required – the
exhibitions worldwide, a great retrospective in the museum Museo d'Arte
dell´Otto e del Novecento MAON in Rende Cosenza in South Italy in July 2014.
Europe now, just as in times of the origins of Romanticism, is shaken by
political and economical crises, and Correggia’s work confronts the todayreality
with the emotions and individual imagination, celebrating emotional
intuition and perception. Sky-landscapes with the text revealed within them can
be seen as the artist’s soul, “voice from within” – these are screams of breathing
within the overcrowding of digital images, of political chaos and decrease of
morality in contemporary society. It is catharsis, the artist’s sublimation of the
crisis. The sublime.
In one of the interviews Francesco Correggia says: “The meaning of my painting
can be comprehended in the relationship between word and image, painting and
writing. The need to insert poetic and literary texts on the surface of the painting
can be seen as a cross-link between the visible and the word or between what is
visible in the unspeakable, and what is invisible in what is said”.
In fact, the cycle of works chosen for the exhibition “Nevermore” in Donna
Leatherman’s gallery was conceived as a mixture of two universes of Francesco
Correggia: artist’s painting and his poetic inner life, they’re indivisible.
Correggia’s art opens those horizons from where appear passages of words,
poetic references, whispered metaphors that make think of the very meaning of
things, of images, trying to intercept visible and invisible, bringing the viewer to
say the unsayable.
In this case with a reference to Merleau-Ponty within the analysis of Correggia’s
oeuvre, we can declare that “the written word is a gesture, and its meaning, a
world”‡‡. For those who are openhearted to enter and join it.
* A. Poe, Raven, 1845
† M. Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, 1945
‡ E. Panofsky, Perspective as Symbolic Form, 1927; Studies in Iconology, 1939; Meaning in the Visual Arts,
§ M. Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, 1945
** E. Gombrich, Art and illusion, 1961
†† F. Correggia, Di nuovo il senso. Un passaggio nel contemporaneo fra arte e filosofia, Arcipelago Edizioni,
‡‡ ref. to M. Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, 1945:
The spoken word is a gesture, and its meaning, a world.
* Tatiana Martyanova is an independent art critic and curator, a member of International Association of Art
Critics, AICA, works with Flash Art International magazine; she curates international exhibitions and contests
for young artists both in Russia and Europe. Lives and works in Milan, Italy.