Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bathers of the Sun

The Weekly Volcano, July 11, 2013

La Bagnanti Del Sole
Leonardo Lanzolla’s swimmers (La Bagnanti) are making a big splash at B2Fine Art Gallery on St. Helens. If you saw Lanzolla’s paintings in his last show at B2, that was just a warm-up. The paintings in this show are far superior.

The lyrical forms, the ways in which he inventively makes Picasso-esque figures his own, his color combinations — and primarily his use of a variety of paint application techniques from layering and scratching into heavy impasto to delicate washes, add up to some very impressive art.

“La Bagnanti Del Sole” pictures two rather heavy naked women in an outdoor setting. One is carrying a parasol and the other has her arms crossed above her head as if dancing. The bodies are like cut-out figures on a ground of tumultuous red and greenish-ochre into which washes of thin red, orange and green paint has been poured and allowed to puddle, and into this very fine lines reminiscent of Matisse drawings outline breasts and other body parts. It is a glowing, soft and sensual painting.

“Bagnanti Girsole,” a drawing in the same style as “La Bagnanti Del Sole,” is a sharp white-line on black drawing in sgraffito on black clay board. It is graphically impactful.

“Bagnanti Ruspante,” which according to my Google translator means something like free range swimmer, depicts a rooster with a pair of women’s breasts and a shape that looks to me like a dead fish floating belly-up. The main figure and background are painted with heavy globs of paint, and the small fish-like figure is another of his cut-out figures with washes of color. The colors in this one are harshly contrasting reds, dark green and orange on a rich blue background. There are also collage elements including what looks like burlap and another small figure in the shape of a two-handled jar or a gun — let the viewer interpret. 

Also included are some powerful linocuts by Mary Pacios, including one I particularly liked titled “The Sunflower,” which I interpreted as Adam and Eve with a yellow flower — rough, angular, male and female figures in black and white with interesting interplay of positive and negative shapes. The yellow flower stands out as the only touch of color.

There are also some decorative stained glass tiles by Jennifer Kuhns with sensual figures that have the flavor of middle ages religious icons.

This is an excellent show, beautifully displayed.

[B2 Fine Art Gallery, Bathers of the Sun, Bathers of the Moon, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, till 8 p.m. Third Thursdays, through Aug. 10, 711 St. Helens Avenue, Tacoma, 253.238.5065]

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