Critics’ Picks

  • Claudio Verna, Altrove (Elsewhere), 2002, acrylic on canvas, 79 x 67.”

    Claudio Verna

    Cardi Gallery | Milan
    Corso di Porta Nuova 38
    September 20 - December 20

    Claudio Verna’s “Pittura Analitica” (Analytical Painting) does not fall into place all at once. His canvases require a deciphering of their essential elements, modulated and distributed in different ways, which form the basis of pictorial language: form, color, line, material, and light. This small retrospective of eleven large-scale paintings, which spans 1967 to 2016 and is based on the rhythm of whiteness in his work, reveals the artist’s playful attitude toward monochrome, which he embraces and thwarts, often in the same canvas. The most recent work in the show, Inatteso (Unexpected), 2016, is paradigmatic of this intention: an expansive ivory plane whose monochromatism, upon a closer look, delightfully crumbles. Inatteso is composed of veils of red, yellow, and brown varnish that iridesce to render the surface as vibrant and luminous as sunlight, which, one remembers, is the sum of all colors. This facture informs all Verna’s false monochromes, which avoid mechanical, glossy textures. Throughout, colors arise like memories surfacing in the mind—deep stratifications that communicate process and time. Altrove (Elsewhere), 2002, consists of a vast and radiant (yet besmudged) white border enclosing a black rectangle: an ominous yet pleasing abyss. Hand, sign, and gesture maintain a presence in Verna’s painting. The brushstroke consistently remains legible, even more so in oils, such as Bianco obliquo II (Oblique White II), 1976, or O.5., 1973, in which a parabola finds its echo in the dotted lines of a coordinate plane—a gesture of still and ongoing equilibrium.

    Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.