11 May-10 June 2005. Watercolour paintings including works by Pedro Cano, Pablo Echaurren, Elisa Montessori and others. There is also an installation by Elisabetta Catamo. 10.00-12.30, 16.00-19.30. Mon 16.00-19.30. Sun and holidays closed.
Watercolours. 11 May-10 June. Watercolour painting is one of the most maligned media in art. It is associated with old-fashionedness, with feeble landscape-rendering by fussy old tourists and genteel lady travellers in the Victorian age. Who remembers the delicate nature observations of Drer, the flamboyant Venetian sunsets by Turner? But brush picking up the paint from a little cake, then dipping it into simple rainwater, can work wonders on a sheet of paper; its whiteness shines through to make the finished painting sparkle ever after. Watercolour painting demands spontaneity because you must work quickly and precisely, so that the wetnesses wont mingle. Or if they do, they can make a wonderfully unforeseen touch. You hit or you miss. To arrive at a good watercolour painting you have to have made quite a few bad tries before. If you correct you smudge and the result is nasty.
So this medium, which demands a quick lightness, does not seem to be adapted to our stark, heavy, emphatic times. However, that it can make quite contemporary statements is pleasantly illustrated by this very varied show.
Michele De Luca from La Spezia makes big bold beams and strokes of paint work as eloquent abstractions. Giuseppe Modica in cross-hatched motions builds luminous interiors. Pedro Cano makes quilts of patches of delicately-rendered pomegranates and other fruit. Elisa Montessori and Maril Eustachio let bright runny washes speak for themselves. Pablo Echaurrens large funnies, though bright and arresting, are not specifically exploring the intrinsic quality of watercolour, close to the opaqueness of gouache that they are. There are also valid works by Bendini, Bindella and Catamo. And a surprising glimpse into recent history is offered by a group of watercolours by George Grosz, from when after decades of a biting acid line in Germany, he turned to the old traditional technique for bland and fluffy sketches of the everyday.
How very flexible and generous this medium can still be today, is here brightly laid out before your eyes. Galleria Giulia, Via Giulia 148, tel. 066861443. 10.00-12.30, 16.00-19.30, Mon 16.00-19.30. Sun and holidays closed. Edith Schloss