EVELYN ASTEGNO

Subtitle

PERSONAL PAINTINGS  

from "Astegno, a Magic Realism that Americans really like", article on Il Giornale di Vicenza", Italian newspaper, Sunday 4 July 2004 by Giovanna Grossato
 

It does exist deep inside many of us another Ego, of eternal youth and purity; it represents all we could and always wished to be. This Ego we miss and contemplate with tormenting desire is the poetic core of a young artist from Vicenza who is now becoming successful in the United States.

It is in fact in a prestigious gallery of St Louis, the "Third Floor gallery on Washington", that are currently being exposed some works of Evelyn Astegno, together with other emerging artists such as Craig Downs, Julie Malone and Christopher Gustave.

The group of paintings Evelyn Astegno chose to display in the collective Art Show are extremely representative of her style, soon well defined from the beginning and matured since she started her career. They belong to a disquieting Surrealism where characters, probable but not assimilable to any type completely rooted in reality, represent probably different aspects of the same subject: the artist herself. Her painting is a thought translated into image, starting with the conviction that language normally used in "figurative painting" to describe reality, at the end of the representative course, gives it just one of the thousands of possibilities of interpretations. So the sensation in front of these paintings is that they develop a spin around the Ego using a language that draws on a sort of "Magic Realism", a term used by Franz Roth and Massimo Bontempelli to identify the tendency in the European painting of the 20ies to give Reality a photographic representation, immersed nevertheless in an atmosphere silent and detached that puts in a painting an element of unreality and a sense of gap of time.

The narrative process of Evelyn Astegno also utilizes the ambiguity of the frontiers between Truth and Dream; it adds the disquieting doubt that there won't be any awakening to mark the harsh certainty of reality neither a reversible way to the total immersion into the Ego.

 

PORTRAITS

from "Astegno, a Magic Realism that Americans really like", article on Il Giornale di Vicenza", Italian newspaper, Sunday 4 July 2004 by Giovanna Grossato 

Interesting in Astegno's production is also her work as a portraitist by which the painter managed to claim critics' attention for her capability of catching intensity in each subject's existence and making emerge the primary qualities, here too, by means of a magic alchemic process, beyond the truth of the very physical features.

 

from "Evelyn Astegno. Imago", review for the first solo opening in Vicenza, 2000 by Giovanna Grossato

The artist's ability in catching reality in its involving and peculiar aspects is specially aimed at portraits. Even in these works the surreal imprint is evident; considering its typological characteristic it's a paradox. Moreover, they point out the artist's skill in catching each feature with accuracy, even the slightest expression fit to portray the person. "The father's portrait", "The star's metamorphosis" and even some of her extravagant, articulate self-portraits, reproduced with startling truth, offer a mysterious and almost abstract version of that truth.

Remembering Evelyn's idea on the artist's work as "something that lasts", we must point out that portraits are a kind of picture specially suitable to set up and incessant and continuously renewable relation between the painter, the subject and the public.

As if the artist's soul and the person's she's portraying blended for ever, hung on the walls of a gallery or of a room, in a synthesis of memories and absolute meanings, objectified out of time and able to survive even when the world and history have forgotten all their names.

That's what happens to the portraits of famous artists in the history of art; it really seems that the higher or the lower degree of expressive force and artistic potential springing from them derives from the completeness of the circle that encloses the painter and the subject.

I don't mean by this that Evelyn's portraits are yet ready to share the fame with Leonardo's and Titian's, but that the intensity by which she investigates the person's soul is, probably, the same.

It will depend on the skill of her research, on the will to pursue her own aims unfailingly (these characteristics have made great the great) to let her enter the Empyrean.