Sunday, January 22, 2023

Artnotes: It's Great to Get OUT


Imagining the Shore   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  15 x 24"  40 x 60   850.00
It has been raining (and lightly snowing) for almost ten days here in Stimigliano.  We drove here on the 11 of January. We needed to pick up a few odds and ends for our trip to France.  By last weekend we were crazy with being stuck indoors.   Finally, mid-week we made a trip to Antrodoco to see an unusual art museum.

Antrodoco is near Rieti, the capital of our province.   It is very close to where St Francis spent lots of his time, and miracles took place just a stone’s throw away.   The name comes from Latin, from an ancient root "ocre" meaning "amid mountains", and it was a Roman center, famous also for being the place of birth of emperors Vespasianus, Titus and Domitianus. Ancient sources also mention the healthy properties of its sulphur waters.  On the way to and from we passed by temptingly bright blue-white ponds lapping at the side of the road.  Even though I had my swimsuit in the car glove compartment, I couldn’t face the cold rain falling all around.
1930s Smoking Cap   Blair Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas   12 x 12" 30 x 30cm   550.00
We went to see a museum, Museo della Città "Lin Delija - Carlo Cesi".   Although Cesi was a known 17th century religious painter, Lin Delija, who died in 1994, is the real star of the museum.   We went to see his paintings of people, a subject we are aiming to address at our artists residency in February.   Delija was from Albania, but lived most of his life in Antrodoco.  His work is little known.

Italy is famous for these offbeat sorts of museums, foundations, and the like.  Chapels abound.  There was a time I considered a job liaising between Italy and the USA with traveling art shows. 
works by Lin Dejila
After plying the rains to arrive at the museum, we hiked up the three flights of stairs in the former convent.  When we arrived the museum was locked.   There was an open door to the side – men were sitting at desks in there, amid generations of stacked papers, office supplies, and disassembled computers.  It was like a scene from a movie where an entire town is entangled in red tape.  “We’re here for the museum”, Blair announced.  After establishing that it was locked, a woman arrived and accepted our 2 euro entry fee. 
Miner's Hat   Blair  Pessemier  Acrylic/crayon/paper 13 x 13"  33 x 33cm  450.00  
It was a not-much-visited place, and the artwork seemed grateful for a glance.  It was more than just a glance we provided; much to the surprise of the clerk, we spent nearly an hour there.  Delija really understood the gestures of people – he combined scenes or full size portraits, sometimes with Bible stories, more often just on their own.  My favorites were some of his women, reputedly Mary Magdalene, but really expressive, strong female figure paintings.  I liked a restaurant scene, and a dance party.  They were terrific.
At a Wedding   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/crayon/canvas  54 x 18" 137x 45cm   950.00
Reluctantly, we left, dashing through raindrops to our car.  We followed the GPS homeward, via the dirt roads and washed out ravines Google has such a penchant for.   Gee, it was great to get out.

Fish swimming up the stairwell at a friend's house 

INVITING All Artists to present their Work:   Paint, Literature, Crafts, Food....

Pessemier's Sunday Salon
Weekly on Sunday  No Reservation Necessary

How it works: Bring a piece of your ART: that could be visual, like painting or printmaking; or literary, as in poetry or prose; or crafts, like metalwork or knitting; or food, or music.  Something you made, or feel particularly inspired by.  You have about 5 minutes to present, and we'll ooh, ahh, or answer questions you have.  You can also come and see how we work before diving in.  Just show up on Zoom at a minute or two before the hour.   
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