Review Monica Ferrarini


The Fomenar prize aspires to be the ideal occasion to compare and create a dialogue between works that are different from each other in style, sentiment and experience. A complex and varied artistic and cultural proposition that combines multiple trends and sets up a web of dialogues between different expressive languages, intended to display the varied expressions of the contemporary. The creators, who were carefully chosen, aim to celebrate stylistic virtuosity and the formal elegance with works that, besides their aesthetic beauty, have the capacity to convey unique expressive qualities.

The prize in question gives us the opportunity to get to know international artists united in their desire to express themselves directly and intensely. Diverse experiences emanating no doubt from an endless quest for new stimuli and comparisons.

The winner, the American Rich Smukler, offers a photograph with a strong emotional impact: the ambience portrayed is a place in ruins where the idea of darkness is deliberately broken by an “Daily rite”open window, or skylight, that lets in a ray of light that impregnates the devastated space. A setting that gives the impression that someone left the scene recently, leaving the antique chair deliberately turned towards the light, like the desk on which have been placed an antique ink pen and a large book, the only intact objects amid the decadence of the whole, as if wanting to show that knowledge is, perhaps, the only thing that can save humankind.

Second prize went to Frenchman Nicolas Dehghani. The protagonist is a female figure captured in a moment of calm abandon: the naturalness of the movement merges with the delicate and non-invasive sensuality of the character, who the artist has painted using achromatic tones in a perfect synthesis of light and shade.

In total, the jury awarded seven prizes: Ramandip Singh, with “Bazaar in poetry”, creates movement with rapid, confident strokes. The typical chaos of a bazaar is recreated in the background with rapid brushstrokes, while the woman with the resolute gait dominates the foreground.

The photograph by Christopher Paul Brown, where he works and experiments with the relationship between reflections and colours, displays great technical expertise. The predominance of green hues makes nature the indisputable protagonist of this picture, in which a woman emerges, who seems to appear out of, and merge with, nature itself in an original and balanced oneness.

By contrast, what emanates from the work of the artistic duo made up of Sergey and Erwin Sovkov, is dynamism and movement. The masculine figure, immortalised in a sculptural pose, fuses with his surroundings, maintaining autonomy in a composition with a complex trajectory, based on the decomposition of the planes and the careful use of colours to create perfect points of light.

Realistically impactful are the spheres of Spaniard Santi García Cánovas, who generates dynamism of enormously striking charm. The glass of the marbles blends with the evanescence of the water and the colours inside them dissolve in an explosion of colours that exudes lightness and movement.

A mysterious “hand” weaving the threads of who-knows-what kind of artefact is, by contrast, the theme chosen by Riki Levisman, who brings to mind an original, fascinating and modern “Deus ex machina”. The work is charged with symbolism and meaning, and the clear colours minutely pick out every last detail of the figure.

Bold, striking colours are also the protagonists of the work by the Austrian Karoline Kögl. The landscape depicted is painted with strokes that border on the abstract, adopting evanescent aspects. The white of the mountains marries with the red on the right that seems to flow, ethereal, like an intangible wind that leaves the observer with the freedom to wander through that marvellous infinity.

The work of Carlo Sciff employs consciously ironic features: from the egg, the quintessential symbol of fecundity and fertility, emerge legs moving about on stiletto-heeled shoes in an unmistakeably feminine way. The jocularity that the artist imbues the work with, aims to exorcise the “fear of childbirth” indicated in its title.

Of identical conceptual force and stature, on both stylistic and explorative levels, the work of the other twenty-two artist demonstrates that contemporary art teaches us that behind every free composition of material, form and colours lies much more than technique and experimentation: there exists the desire to give life to a feeling, to an intuition, and the capacity to translate an idea into an image and the know-how to capture and bring a detail to life.

Different paths, but unique in their genre, different works, but with great communicational impact, in which each style is treated in a very personal way.

Also the traditionally more classical genres, such as the figurative, assume very original aspects, like in the work of Ernesto J. Ferriol Pérez, where the woman in the foreground exudes overwhelming femininity.

The human form, in the work of Jacqui Grantford, is evanescent and dreamlike: the hands and face form a whole to convey that effort goes hand-in-hand with genius. By contrast, the golden figure of Pierpaolo Manfrè seems to emerge from bark, because humans and nature exist in symbiotic balance.

For his part, the protagonist of the work of Carolina Scardoni is captured in a very natural position and painted in a blurry fashion, while the face of Fred Farrow seems to be swallowed up by the painting itself.

Symmetrical and spectacular are the women immortalised in sculptural pose by Victor Alaluf, in an extraordinarily contemporary “Genesis” which reaffirms woman’s role as creator of life.

The figures assume various traits and are tinged with realism in “Freedom” by Anastassia Afanasieva, where the motorcycle is filled with minute details, coupled with sophisticated games of light and reflections, or even become hyper-realistic in “Daily rite” by Graziella Lizzari, which celebrates an absolutely Italian gesture.

Also very striking are mysterious and silent landscapes, as in the case of Alexey Anikin, or eminently hyper-realistic, like “Ellipse Light” by Stephen McDowell , a work that produces a transcendental impact, and which plays with, among other elements, spatiality and colours, as is the case with the work of Davide Monciatti , which seems to be suspended in a vacuum, that, as well as physical, also lacks sound and noise.

And metaphysical and symbolist landscapes can also found in the work of Doron Fishbein, outlined in the vacuum and seeming to dissolve into it, or “Militis Temporis” by Stefano Palermo, where the spacial dimension is dominated by the temporal, with the clocks converted into subtle protagonists.

“Birch Forest”, by Alina Kiseleva, draws upon the dreamlike dimension, with a landscape that carries traces of undulating movement, while Chijia He’s painting, surrounded by a damp haze, is strongly realistic.

There is no lack of more abstract work, such as the explosion of colours by Israel’s Javier Volovich, which turn to liquid in a dynamic movement.

In Evelyne Frostl’s painting, colour variations are channelled to create dynamic spaces, while Sabrina Grossi harnesses colour to create the effect of lights charged with vibrant energy, and Axelle Kieffer experiments with the expressive possibilities of white, conveying movement with agile, rapid strokes.

The cold tones of blue are the protagonists of “Memory to Frank Gehry”, by Gregory Emvy, picked out by luminous white lines that imply figures and sketch out other spaces.

By contrast, the work of India’s Jui Deuskar seems to be a small mosaic of peculiar images that evoke comic strips, and which invite the spectator to register every last detail. Also strongly impactful is the work of Matthias Kretschmer: projectiles arranged in concentric circles where the luminosity of yellow dominates in a creation that is full of meaning and in perfect aesthetic balance.

If it is difficult, almost impossible, to explain a work of art in an objective way, this has never been so subjective as it is with contemporary art. And it is thanks to all this, and to the extraordinary skill of the artists to transfer unprecedented and unconscious sensations to canvas, that the observer has the opportunity to view the real world with fresh eyes and from different points of view, to perceive exclusive and unsuspected meanings.

Monica Ferrarini
Curator and art critic
Roma, 2017