Popular culture grasps the sign of a perpetual, and at the same time, irremovable image from the icon. The icon as mystic, representative condition and form able to transmit the cultural theme. In spite of the changing of the times, such testimony of traditional wisdom doesn’t seem to suffer from the irony of new knowledge if we still identify in the image the essential engine for conquering the awareness of the observer, welding in this way a determining communicative channel between the artist and the spectator.
Certainly today, we are not afraid to face the variety of topics that involve the iconic process, to the point of accepting the rapid evolution of which the image was a part; our century has in fact dissolved the poetics of the avantguard, and then, with the emerging of the postmodern climax, regained possession of them for piercing quotations.
It has happened, rather, that with the new appreciation for manual involvement, the image offers a reason for analysis of its material being and of its material in its new elaboration structure, in order to make a comparison between the aggregates committed in the form and the environmental condition that justifies the space within which the artist sets up the new icon.
Therefore, we consider the temporality that leads the gesture, made color, to prove itself objective through the idea, before achieving such on the support, where however it will take the dialogue up again with the subjectivity of the spectator. It is undoubtedly of the same importance that the emancipation of color in such a perspective forces the artist to ripen many revolutions, both mental and technical, in his/her practice. In this phase it is necessary that the painting resolutely overcomes the duality between the represented object and the painted one without evading it, and that the artist fully internalizes the meaning of the attribution of color to the work, without it becoming dispossessed of its autonomy to the advantage of form, and without the work becoming the perceived object and not the interpreted one.
As a consequence of the awareness shown in rehabilitating perception as authentic vehicle of truth, Wanda Benatti proposes a way of painting intended as pictorial material and not as marks on colored surfaces.
The artist in fact connotes the work with color that doesn’t reveal its materialness in the fleeting or with lightness. On the contrary, the visible effect and tactility offer density, so that the hand is no less satisfied than the eye.
Furthermore, Benatti calls upon a precise determination in defining the pictorial function of color, not dwelling only on weighing the nature and corporeity of it.
Thus, the composition joins together a complex range of psychological motivations and technical solutions for the artist. Moreover, the choice of providing the image by means of the formality of a frontal view doesn’t seem negligible. Such a “formal script” is an important element in Benatti’s most current creativity. In fact, the solution doesn’t aim at a saturation of the field, ignoring the perspective, as much as at a use of the instinctive process, dear to faber materico that in the sixties joined color traces and heteroclite materials together within the scheme of its “hautes-pates,” in search of a penetration effect.
Benatti verifies the possibility that the component structure is still able to prove itself in its capacity for giving life to an implosive reaction; she will not then cast chromatic germinations that depend on the gesture, in the overhang, but will ideally go “to extract” in the space of the work. The effect will be that of increasing the perceptive potential of the observer. Such visual virtuality acquires value also as a consequence of the experience the artist has capitalized in the projection of artistic glass doors and windows. In the play of intersecting and superimposed planes—in the provision of a fascinating exegesis of Escheresque metaphors without the painted backgrounds—only seemingly strips of the field, torn by the intense, marginalizing gesture. Beyond the sign remains what Sartre called “la pate meme des choses” and that is the substratum of material that is the authentic matrix of existence.
The index of such a constant intersection of surfaces in the revealing of the immersed-emerged, the memory grasped from a manner—that once again refers Benatti’s painting back to the notion of the Mediterranean school—shines through the icon, pursued in its form-color identity by the artist. The use of the margining of the form or of the sign through golden marks of bronzing powder is attributed originally to Venetian vedutismo.
And however in such a creative epiphany, the fluttering in the dispersion of the gesture that isn’t afraid to transform itself in true “dripping” produces an aura of light that the painter exchanges in stressing the effects of contrast and projection, between expression and impression, varying among ideal surfaces assembled in this way.
One conjugates in this way in equal time the harshness of the daily reflection with the solemn rituality of the strong, bright mark. From the onrush toward the horizon always laden with new markings, we acquire the conviction that the artist aims at a relationship of contact or comparison with that deaf-mute barrier where the gesture puts down the forming sign. In order to seize the opening, in order to overcome that extreme limit of the daily, beyond the dimension where iconography emerges as matrix of life.