21 April-21 June 2006. Paintings by Nicola Bragantini, Mauro di Silvestre, Matteo Montani, Luca Padroni and Paolo Picozza.
Painters to the Wall Until 21 June 2006. What is this? The invitiation to this exhibition shows the backs of five fashionably dressed young men, their hands raised over their heads against the wall as in a police line-up, as if ready to be searched. The capricious dealer Sargentini treats his men men only! like that, as if they were in the power of police sergeants.
But the exhibition of the work of these male newcomers is a relief: sheer painting is in again at last. After the welter of photography and intellectual games all over the place it is a breath of fresh air, though very macho.
Luca Padroni paints a whole subway train streaking out of its frame onto the gallery wall; there is a bluish long tidal wave by Matteo Montani; Mauro di Silvestre has a Rembrandt-ish nightwatch of modern men painters? looming from dark ground out of gold frame.
But the most painterly among the painterly are Nicola Bragantini and Paolo Picozza. Bragantini with a bright patchwork of waving, sharp shapes flags, hatchets interlocking as positive and negative space, all taut with energy. Picozza is equally dynamic, loading his wide brush with tar black and making it zoom and splinter over dead whites, his former cityscapes now honed down to sheer bold travelling horizontals.
Indeed, a good five decades later Sargentinis boys are not afraid to follow and to try to improve on the methods of their elders the good old abstract expressionists and give us hope again for the progress of the pure wielding of the brush. Edith Schloss