15 Pisa Caterina Sbrana

Caterina Sbrana's work pursues a dual path: on the one hand she uses techniques harking back to the origin of painting - when mud was the only "pigment" available and fingers the artist's main working tool - while on the other, her figuration is subordinated to the use of organic and inorganic materials. The concise and often monochrome aspect of her work, like her choice of subject matter, may recall old botany and architecture manuals: roots, plants and maps are some of her favourite themes, accurately reflected in the origin of the materials she uses in her depiction. Her large ground plans of Pompeii painted in brown monochrome reveal an intense link with the city not only in terms of the depiction itself, which is recognisable and can be identified with a specific place, but above all in terms of the material she affects, because the colour used in the painting is none other than volcanic ash gathered on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius itself. All of her works betray a visual and conceptual transposition: the pigment with which she paints is the material essence of the subject matter depicted; and in her canvases with sleeping figures, for instance, she even goes so far as to use poppy, both for its intrinsic technical qualities and for its symbolic association with the subject matter. She uses the particular shape of the pod as a stamp, and just like in a pointillist painting small marks map out the composition in nuances of chiaroscuro. The bond between the subject matter and the material used to portray it is not merely a pretext, it reflects her specific desire to create a painting which is not simply the transfiguration of reality but a reinterpretation of that reality as part of a new way of flushing out truth.

Caterina Sbrana was born in Pisa. After pursuing classical studies she moved to Perugia, where she gained a diploma in painting restoration at the Istituto Europeo delle Arti Operative. She continued to pursue her studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara under Omar Galliani, exploring the themes of her own artistic research in greater depth. In 2003 she was awarded a special jury mention for her Ofelia di fango [Mud Ophelia] in the Premio Nazionale delle Arti in Rome. She began to show her work in collective exhibitions in the province of Pisa and Carrara in 1999, those exhibitions including: Segni di sogni, Galleria Tacca, Carrara, 2000; Ofelia, curated by F. Morelli and V. Rivosecchi, Laboratorio d’arte contemporanea dell’Accademia di Carrara, Carrara, 2002; Microcosmos, curated by V. Rivosecchi, Museo dei bozzetti, Pietrasanta (Lucca), 2003. Her most important personal exhibition, entitled Organica, was held at the Sakros exhibition hall in Carrara in 2008. Her other personal exhibitions include Hypnos, curated by Grazia Tassi, Galleria Amphisbaena, Modena, 2009; and Earth and Water, curated by Grazia Tassi, Tetrapak, Modena, 2010.

 

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Address: Studio 17, Via V. Veneto 17, Pontasserchio - Pisa

How to get there: Take cpt bus no. 70 from Piazza S. Antonio (Pisa), bound for Pontasserchio

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