Monday, 15 September 2014

Travelling in Misty Lands

Travelling in Misty Lands: Valerio D’Ospina takes us on a fascinating trip through his thought-provoking oil paintings depicting beautifully dramatic cityscapes.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”, an adaptation of a sentence by famous French novelist Marcel Proust in ‘In Search of Lost Time’ could well become our touchstone to look at Valerio D’Ospina’s fantastic paintings of blurred cities. In fact, his artworks not only offer audiences completely unexpected aspects of well-known iconic symbols of towns around the world, but they also show the artist’s very own, personal way of seeing those same towns.

Valerio D’Ospina, born in Taranto, Italy, and presently based just out of Indiana, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., focuses his oil paintings on urbanscapes, which he depicts in a very personal and unique way by assigning them with a particularly mysterious aura given by his strong, energetic  strokes. Familiar views are metamorphosed into intriguing new renditions under his skill and creativity to become wholly different sights, displaying a certain effect of movement.

Somewhat disturbing as they may be, D’Ospina’s paintings suggest the fascinating and dramatic effect of dissolving cityscapes, thereby reminding us of Antoní Gaudi’s La Sagrada Família Cathedral in Barcelona, whose densely worked out tall towers may look like melting candles. And this is not an altogether unsuitable idea, for D’Ospina himself admits: “I always look to eliminate the ‘comfort’ both in technique and in the tools I use. Even my compositions are frequently uncomfortable to look at... especially considering the common feeling of vertigo when looking at some of my cityscapes”.  And he adds that he likes “to use the ‘wrong’ tools, the ‘wrong’ brushes, the wrong surface to paint on”. We are, therefore, looking at artworks that are meant to be disruptive.

Valerio D’Ospina evokes the great Jackson Pollock and the fortuity which led him to discover the dripping technique which made his creations so tremendously powerful to explain his own objective of re-enacting the same energy to create beauty while still representing tangible reality. He further explains how he uses his hands and rags as tools to give his paintings the effect of freshness he wants to achieve as he works to the sound of rock ‘n roll music.

D’Ospina tries to introduce fluidity and freedom to his creations, as a way to break from the academic training he got as a student at Accademia di Belle Arti (Fine Arts Academy) in Florence. And he does succeed, for his thought-provoking cityscapes inevitably trap viewers’ gaze and make them wonder about well-known places as if in a guessing game they cannot escape. In fact, they are looking at them with new eyes – those given to them by Valerio D’Ospina’s incredible talent and creativity.

Having started his career painting human figures, Valerio D’Ospina latter evolved into the industrial scenes and shipyards of the Taranto of his youth years, and to the cityscapes that have made him famous worldwide. With his strong, energetic strokes, D’Ospina captures the metropolitan pulse with contemporary aesthetics in paintings displaying dramatic movement and a life of their own.

In fact, Valerio D’Ospina’s stunning talent offers viewers fresh ways of looking at déjà vu sites/sights, thereby somehow justifying Henry Miller’s words when he says that “one’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things”.

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