Raccogliere was the title of the show put on display last night in room 109 of the Art Building, by current University of Connecticut art student Louise Astorino. The direct translation being “to gather,” Astorino focused her artistic gaze on the iconic common areas of the historic district of Florence, applying meditated touches of her own voice to distill the essence of these courtyards, bridges and plazas.
“I have never seen her work before. So many pieces were very nice in respect to her approach with the medium along with her awareness and comfort that meets the broader line but doesn’t lose any measurements,” Joe Rosen, an eighth semester English major and film studies minor, said.
A preface written by Astorino was hung on the wall in the beginning of the gallery to help viewers of her work get an idea for how she crafted her engaging artwork.
“I have always struggled with creating hyper-realistic art. I used to think that creating art from observation was a textbook procedure, intended only to reproduce what it is we see with our eyes. However, as I’ve grown as an artist, I’ve come to realize this is not the case. There are countless imperfect elements an artist can leave on a work, which lend personality that can ultimately help indentify the intention of the piece. It is these imperfect elements that can elevate a drawing above other observational mediums, such as photography,” it said.
Following this preface was a gradient of sketchbook pieces telling a narrative of style adjustments to her work before transitioning into the final style that could be felt in the majority of the mounted pieces around the gallery.
Her work began with just ink pen. Slowly, earth tone washes were added, then subtle tones of blue and green began to make their way into the pieces, which gave way to the final palate of colors she stuck with. Composed of many light warm hues shadowed by dark cool colors, many of her pieces composed a feeling that they were captured at noon on a Sunday where everyone is out, and relaxed.
This was an essential element to Astorino’s work. For this collection, she used contrasting of very simple colors to create a massive range of depth, without distracting form the focus of each piece. Framed by simple brown lines, many pieces added an addional aspect of depth as many characters and shapes passed over the frame, creeping into the foreground.
“Ever since I first knew of her work, the pieces she’s created always gave me an energy so expressive and free that I can always return to. The way she flows in and out with such natural detail truly inspires me and makes me feel happy,” Henry Stein, a sixth semester digital media and design major, said.
Iconicly, Florence is a city that is rich in textures, often covering many of the surfaces of these public spaces; from the cobblestone streets to the elaborate masonry and sculpture found in every corner. But Astorino saw through the busyness and captured the raw shape of men, women and children encompassed by the simple grandeur of the historic buildings, without muddling the pieces with unnecessary detail.
Dan Wood is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.