Monday, June 01, 2020

Artnotes: A New World

Looking OUT  (from our window in Roccamalatina) Laurie Fox Pessemier Acrylic/canvas 20 x 38"  50 x 100cm   495.00
We went OUT, a half dozen times this week.  I got my eyes tested and new glasses, we ate lunch at a restaurant near the Panaro river, and we went to a church designed by Alvar Aalto, the Finnish architect.  About that, Blair, our architect in residence, says:
“In 1965 Cardinal Lercaro decided to hire the architect Alvar Aalto to design a modern version of a Catholic church. Aalto’s commission was for the town of Riola di Vergato, along the river Reno, south of the City of Bologna. Before the church was constructed, Cardinal Lercaro left his post and the project was abandoned. After several years, a local man offered to fund the construction himself, Mario Tamburini. The church finished construction in 1978. By then, Aalto was dead. His wife attended the dedication.
Riola  Blair Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas   12 x 18" 30 x 45 cm   225.00
The church is quite impressive by its stillness and lack of decoration. What is there, is beautiful and thoughtfully done.  On the outside, is a massive flat façade in local stone curving in from the left as it goes up, then stepping down in quarter circles. The main entrance is a wide horizontal opening with the inclusion of a small door set off on the right. When service is in session the large entrance is completely open. Inside, other than the floor, altar, and wood pews, all is white. The main structural elements are six asymmetrical curved arches made of reinforced concrete. The arches were pre-fabricated, along with many elements, then assembled on-site. To the left is a long straight gently leaning wall behind the arches. A small reveal makes those arches seem unconnected to the wall. On the right, stepping down are scoop sidelights to let in north light. A choir loft on the right separates with a broken wall gradually diminishing in height toward the chancel, and also the pews diminish in length, to focus on the altar—a single block of marble.  Off to the right, and slightly down, is a baptistry with a pyramidal skylight, and a slit window that connects you to the river. Outside, the roofing is a delicately textured copper sheathing, easily viewable from the upper street. Some little details to take in were the Aalto designed light fixtures, holy water fonts, door handles, and framing of views through small offset openings.”
From my standpoint, this was a great first outing.  Like the church, we emerged from life as usual, through the lockdown, into a new world.  The Italian Renaissance of Florence, St Peter’s and Michelangelo, while intensely wonderful, eventually had to give way to a new way of looking.  That is not to say design is in any way diminished, but rather changed. 
In fact, we are seeing things in a new way, evaluating how much we really need to go out.  Conditions are the same:  no vaccine, no treatment, but we are handling ourselves more sensibly.
Irises in Line   Blair Pessemier    Acrylic/canvas   8 x 20"   21 x 50cm  275.00
We have booked an apartment in Venice beginning next Saturday.  We are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary with a four day trip, with Harika.   I hardly feel as though I am 40 years old, although I am obviously much more than that.   It’s a new world.
San Marco, Venice   Laurie Fox Pessemier  Acrylic/canvas  10 x 20"  25 x 50cm  375.00

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