From memorial itineraries to yearned for perspectives
“I do not know what I may appear to the world;
but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore,
and diverting myself in now and then finding
a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary,
whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
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.
As light and transparent as flocks of clouds on a sunny day, these recurrent flares – imperious in a layout of colour that brings together the warmest harmonies – seem to allude to memorial itineraries or yearning perspectives or, at least, emotional areas within which Barrasso discovers or rediscovers just how much has always dwelt inside her. So for her, painting becomes a kind of interior excavation that is not always summoned up by the surrounding reality: it is, rather, a wide variety of secret palpitations – so fertile in a mind as sensitive as hers – that push her towards Pindaric flights.
In such visions her meeting with nature has a cathartic taste and value: intoxicating scents of flowers, romantic crepuscular warmth, and the insistent sense of a truth that for some time we have known has been lost, and now we find it again in the heart-rending echo that floats, like an arcane melody, in these fascinating paintings by Barrasso.
Her painting sails over figurative seas or finds harbour in informal havens: it is her very spirit that tells us of trepidations that are only in part calmed by the fertile manifestations of bright, beautifully combined colours. But to dare also means to go beyond the orders of the palette, to search for gradations mixed with essential moods, and to find at last what is a distant spark and make it the flame for a representation overflowing with personal clues.
Deep down, each work completed by Barrasso shows a multitude of fervours and murmurs that are, with respect to her fiery temperament, all specular. On the contrary, you would think that in her varied tones of yellow – fundamental and constant in her work – you can recognise the state of mind that has accompanied the artist in each of her tasks, so much is it clear and perceptible, quite apart from the refinement of her work. Because, as usual, Barrasso paints what she feels within and not what she sees around her, as could easily be the case with us all. She is nourished by the ambrosia of poets and dreamers, the inexhaustible lymph for those who have something important to say or do to those who have not yet stopped listening to the voice of the heart and of feelings.
If it were necessary to sum up the most intimate particularities of her work, with a summary inadequate in the face of such an opulent and fiery temperament, we could say that in Barrasso’s activity there has always been a dense aura of mysterious fascination. A light that goes beyond dawns and sunsets, places and spaces, a silence that is a necessary meditation and a life, all of it, in its most ancestral areas.