Brian Fallon, “A Festa from Milan”

“The Irish Times”, review of the exhibition Milano. Milano, Irish Life Centre, Dublin, April 1993

FESTA ITALIANA is upon us and all about us, part of it being “Milano Milano” at the Irish Life Centre (on behalf of the Wyvern Gallery). Eight artists are included, all resident or working in Milan, though, of these, one – Richard Gorman – is Irish; another, Paul Goodwin, is English; a third, Nathalie Du Pasquier, is French. There is only a single sculptor, Paola Brusati.
This is not a group show in the usual sense, it is rather a cross-section of the many young or younger artists working in Italy’s art capital, though most of them appear to have worked together on various artistic projects. Richard Gorman’s loose, freely brushed, post-de Kooning brand of abstraction is familiar; none of the others are.
Nathalie De Pasquier combines a very French (at least, it used to be very French) painterliness with a disciplined, but idiosyncratic linear quality. She is, incidentally, almost the only figurative artist included, but the subjects are little more than a crutch to carry elegant colour and quirky, refined drawing.
Roberto Rizzo works in broad, quasi-geometric masses, but instead of keeping his surfaces flat and impersonal, as so often with artists of this kind, he gives them the wrought, energetic quality of Abstract Expressionism. This allows him the best of two worlds and, unlike some of the others, he is not dwarfed by the vast spaces of the Irish Life exhibition area.
Enzo de Grandi’s fluid, overlapping shapes gain by the close but “staggered” hanging of his pictures, giving them an ensemble, almost an installational effect. Paul Goodwin is virtually tachiste, Claude Caponnetto works in a dense but controlled web of over-painted , superimposed bands and masses of paint; Alessandro Mangiarotti loads his surfaces almost to the point of muddiness, yet a tonal glow emerges from the depths of the paint, shot through with fine filaments of luminosity.
Paola Brusati, the sole sculptor, is rather swallowed up by the scale of the venue, since her pieces – in terracotta – are relatively small and intimate. They contain, however, a notable element of visual wit. A few large, freestanding pieces of sculpture would have added a final balance, but no doubt, the transport and other problems would have been intensified.