Close-up

Francesca Leone now introduces a coherent and compact group of heads interrelated in both theme and style. The artist has brought an interesting level of maturity her first experience close to – at least for a certain period – the hyper-realistic tendencies of the end of the last century. She has derived benefit from these teachings, but has never intended to adhere to a preconceived doctrine. On the contrary, she has immersed in this type of idea a strongly emotional and passionate dimension that has kept her far away from long inconclusive mediations and speculations that often have accompanied many forms of the return of figurative art.

The personalities that Leone depicts in her works are all distinguished by a fairly strong moral tension.

They are heroes in both thought and action and there is no doubt regarding an evident sense of ethics implicit in such work. But in art, that which dominates is always the stylistic approach and it is here that one feels the poignancy and the beauty of the artist’s recent work. Francesca Leone uses a sort of double register through which the enormous image approaches the viewer and also consumes the material as if this thing itself were vanishing at the exact moment in which the image comes into perfect focus.

This provokes a particular sense of discontentment in the viewer, for whom the painting is, at the same time, sharply defined and yet elusive, solid but yet ethereal, disconcerting and yet majestic. One would infer the artistic approach of a fearless character that treats reality with candor and respect for everything but that by reinterpreting all renders it personal.

The subtle quality of these paintings must be remarked upon, executed with a spirit that could well be defined as classical, of classicism, needless to say, of our times that does not look towards the past, but is profoundly aware of the connection to those who have preceded us.

Each on e of these paintings assumes therefore, the air of admonition, of the solemnity but the imminence of the approach on the present, just as if the painter had been aware of the necessity of not leaving anything out that could enable her to honor her conscience as an artist.

One can then say definitely Francesca Leone has accorded a tenet to her career that at this very time is still growing towards new goals that will arise logically out of such an intense and happy creative period.

The “primo piano” (“close-up”) of which the current show speaks, already in its very title, is on the one hand the close-up of the individuals but also the close-up of on our attention that the artist seeks to involve with all the weight of her pictorial material, alive and palpitating even through delicately worked and concealing the canvas with a lightness that never contrasts with the efficient energy of the final formulation of the image.

Claudio Strinati