What leads an artist to abandon any form of figurative representation in favor of an examination of energy, vibrations, and uncontrolled gestures? What kind of impulses hide under the surface of visually simplistic canvases? Looking at Fabrizio Gazzarri’s paintings for the first time, the viewer experiences at the same time appeal and surprise. There is an unexplainable chemistry emanating from the surface of his canvases that show large, often monochrome brushstrokes, worming their way in whimsical directions. Sometimes they resemble flowers, sometimes rivers, and other times an assembly of debating people. The debate is a recurring theme in Gazzarri’s work. This debate is not in a literal, verbal way; it is rather an emotional act that has roots in internal impulses, driving energy that has an urgent need to communicate with the external world.
Gazzari’s recent painting series, As A Consequence of Redness (2018-2019), was born out of such communication and represents their consequences. The works that are united under this umbrella title reflect a real confrontation the artist had with his own psyche. The color red, known for its strong energy, loaded vibrations, and aggressiveness, has been a constant presence in the artist’s life and corpus in the past years. For Gazzarri, red represents a medium that embodies an entry into a space of fundamental excitement and encounter: A space between feverishness and fear, a circuit of sensitive interactions that lead to experience.
Gazzarri doesn’t follow a precise logic when painting. Rather, he lets himself fall into a stream of internal energies that enable him to operate on the canvas. The construction of his works of art explore thoroughly directions towards the instability of existence, their relationship with the world, and the attempts to reach linguistic autonomy. Gazzarri’s canvases represent a battle of two opposites –internal versus external, driving versus static– invoking the existential conflicts of modernity.
The artist’s self-communication opened new horizons into a painting practice that is far from the ordinary and scholarly ways of art-making. As a matter of fact, Gazzarri never decides a time for painting but awaits the right moment to appear within himself. The right impulse to let go of any mindsets and to delve into a form of symbiosis between the body and internal impulses, much different from logical thinking systems, elevate Gazzarri’s paintings. What appears on the canvas are shapes and structures that are almost primordial, yet sophisticated and intriguing to the eye of its viewer. The works of art initially seem like they lack narrative, even more visually than abstract paintings. After this initial phase, they invite their viewers to contemplation and slowly reveal, instead, a much richer dialog than expected, often within viewers themselves.
The aspect of secrecy and seduction are evident in all of Gazzarri’s paintings and particularly in the series Rossori (2019), a word that means both “redness” and “emotional arousement” and Towards Saturn (2019), the planet of personal limitations and mysticism. The artist is fascinated by the power of hidden messages and surprising revelations. For Gazzarri, the subtraction of information is a form of seduction that opens ways for better understanding and participation of life. The pleasing friction experienced through the paintings is a certain mystery; one that has been hidden under the surface of the canvases. This friction initiates a discourse on so many levels and elucidates why any figurative representation would be nothing but obsolete.
It’s always curious to consider the impact of a work of art in a given space, especially in the public realm. Gazzarri’s paintings possess such power and strength and yet, they are made of simple lines. This kind of art, interacting with an environment that often requires filtered forms of dialog rather than impulsive actions, opens up new spaces for new dialogues.
This essay has been published in a catalog produced by Artericambi Gallery (Verona, Italy) on the occasion of the exhibition ‘As A Consequence of Redness’ (September 26, 2019 – February 16, 2020 in New York).