In the language of painting, which the twentieth century has handed down to us as a treasure store, it is not rare for neo-figuration and lyrical abstraction to meet up and dialogue within the space of the same canvas, the canvas needed for representation and a testimony of the support of the rhythm of the colour, of the deepest music, and the outpouring of song that the subject expresses. Such a dialogue can be clearly captured in this work by Pietra Barrasso. The reds and yellows that at times condense and stand out as material, vivid with flashes of light,flowing with linear fluxes,
The burning emotional urges that we imagine live in the deepest depths of Pietra Barrasso’s work rise to the surface as spiritual lights called on to clear away the darkness that envelops our increasingly troubled existence in its sinister embrace.
Inebriated by lyrical tremors and emotional disquiet, the painting by this rigorous and inspired artist captures the fascinating challenge of the “unexplored world”: a geography that at times is dreamy, at others invisible but that can be materialised – the right term, given the emblematic relevance of coagulated colour – on a surface that is no longer realistic but completely mental, where there persist, often enclosed in a vertical contrail, luminous sources pervaded by a sense of seductive enchantment.
To capture the light that is the soul of the world and the source of our energy has always been the favoured theme of modern and contemporary art.
If art has the capacity to influence our states of mind, then this research is one of the paths that many artists have followed, and others are preparing to do so.
Pietra Barrasso’s cascades and contaminations of light merit attention both for their originality and for their execution.
The artist has arrived at her confrontation with light, always one of the most complicated aspects of art, after a solid experience in painting, and after having faced up to important challenges and won them.
Let’s look at them briefly before returning to her current production, concentrating on two themes resolved with great ability and in which we see the first seeds of the atmospheric light of this period.
In modern painting, marked by the generations that closed the twentieth century and open, in the bloom of youth, the twenty-first century, Pietra Barrasso is among the few who have breathed in rhythm with the new and future times. She arrived at painting with active conviction almost since childhood, but of course schools and life have been useful for reaching a technical perfection such as to allow her to be both absolutely figurative and, when she wants, to be part of the most revolutionary avant-gardes.
Her decision - which was courageous when she set out but is now in line with the orientation of the art world and the relative collecting market – was to arrive at a fusion of painting, always within the magical sphere of poetic feeing and reality, of figurative tradition and the futuristic adventure of the avant-gardes. In each of her canvases with a figurative structure, in fact, it is possible to isolate a detail with the eye, and find oneself on that informal journey that is abstraction in art.
When I saw the works by Pietra Barrasso for the first time I understood, without having any scientific proof, that behind that detailed meticulous folding of mortar mixed together with pigments, there was hidden, not just a swift and certain hand, but also a complete artistic vision, an idea of art that, evidently, she has been able to follow in the past and express herself by exploiting ancient knowledge and ability.
I had the sensation that these continual shoots of radiant colour worked over with the palette knife, known as "rays of light", were like the final expression of a deeply-rooted tradition that has been progressively sublimated in the pure conceptuality of light.
I only had a confirmation of this recently, when the artist showed me, asking for my opinion, an oil on canvas that she had painted in 2000: a splendid Madonna in trono con angeli, worthy of the best painters of the fifteenth century...a kind of painting that she has since gone beyond to arrive, over time, at an Informal style. However, beneath this Informalism there lies an exceptional sculptural-painterly formalism; we can intuit a first-class academic preparation, one that loves chalks, charcoal, and casts of statues, one that teaches pupils the history of art, and one that promotes only those who have passed the test of learning.