Written by Michael Goldstein for THE ARTISTS FORUM MAGAZINE
Edited by Amos White V for THE ARTISTS FORUM, INC
Photos: Michael Goldstein
5 out of 5 stars
RAPHAELLA SPENCE: SAINTS & SINNERS AND ROBERTO BERNARDI: ROBERTO BERNARDI
NEW YORK, NY (March 7, 2016) The Bernarducci Meisel Gallery unsheathes its sweet tooth this March at the Gallery’s showcasing of the most recent works by painters Raphaella Spence and Roberto Bernardi. While Bernardi has been showcased at the Gallery before, this is Spence’s first appearance, titled Saints & Sinners, featuring works of Italian field churches as well as the Vegas Strip in all of its illuminated glory.
Immediately there is a stark contrast in the two locations, and this contrast is represented perfectly through Spence’s photorealistic style. Her painting, Chiesa Di San Martino (2015), puts the titular field church in the spotlight, illuminating its history through its brightened bricks. As a matter of fact, taking the center stage in the painting, the church takes on a calm but fearless composition as it radiates an aura of ancient mysteries. The blue sky that companies it actually helps to emphasize that while its still old, its still holy ground.
Her Las Vegas painting, appropriately titled The Strip (Las Vegas) (2013), is an entirely different entity. This one has Vegas at night spread out all over the lower half of the painting, like an aerial view of the underworld. Its steep atmosphere becomes reminiscent of the thrill one gets from gambling. In doing all of this, it becomes an instant rival and dramatically opposed to its fellow church paintings.
Bernardi’s still-life paintings, on the other hand, are neither holy nor sinful. Instead, they are exactly what they are at the front; nothing but sweet, sweet jolliness at the sight of lip-smacking goodies. Its bluntness is Bernardi’s main strength, showcasing a practical wonderland of color. In some paintings it’s all over the place. In others, such as Orange Candies (2015), your eyes are drawn to the compressed colors at the center of the portrait. Don’t mind the hippo though; it’s cute but he doesn’t look that hungry.
When you leave behind the holy sweetness of Bernardi and Spence, you suddenly realize the quaint narrative as I did yesterday – You eat candy, and then you go to church and confess you ate too much candy.
For more information on Raphaella Spence, visit: raphaellaspence.com
For more information on Roberto Bernardi, visit: robertobernardi.com
For more information about Bernarducci Meisel Gallery, visit: bernarduccigallery.com