Antonietta Sanfilippo

Fitzroy Library Exhibition Space, 128 Moor Street, Fitzroy

Stories of the ancients in our time

Paintings in acrylics, watercolours and oils

2November - 30December 2013

Report by Carmel O'Connor

Antonietta Sanfilippo has reached the lofty height within the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria Inc., to have her own solo exhibition of paintings at the Fitzroy Library until 30 December 2013. Antonietta Sanfilippo's intellectual enquiry into the visual arts stems from her studies in Psychology with Jung as a her mentor as so many other artists she furthers this lineage, taking up her baton or in this case her brush to reveal her passion. Toni says "I'm starting to use self-hypnosis before painting, in order to open my mind to more creative possibilities."

Sanfilippo's paintings are hung in two separate sections of the library. The north wall of the main 'book' area, on the Moor Street side of the library, displays four paintings. These four paintings are divided into two different themes and I think they need to be viewed with their companion pieces on display in the cases. I understand the logic of the curator to hang these works according to their larger size. No dates are given for any of the works on display. I presume that if dated we could gather some understanding of the growth and moods of this artist.


Untitled 2, acrylic, 76 x 52 cm, by Antonietta Sanfilippo

Two of the large pictures with the titles Natural Earth 1 and Natural Earth 2, relate to four companion paintings of a smaller size positioned in the display cases with titles Earth 1, Earth 2, Earth 3, and Earth 4. I believe these six works should be looked at together to fully appreciate the textures, colours and scale of which this artist has been deeply engaged throughout her practical and psychological research. The textured surface of each painting in this series reminded me of Albert Tucker's Luna Landscape 1957, which sold the year after its creation to the Museum of Modern Art, New York.


Natural Earth 2, acrylic, 100 x 75 cm, by Antoinetta Sanfilippo

The two other largish paintings on the Moore Street wall titled Untitled 1 and Untitled 2, similarly need to be viewed with their other companion pieces. Abstract Forest 1, Abstract Forest 2 and Abstract Collage, which are to my mind influenced by our indigenous artists; which is perfectly understandable as it is over fifty years ago that Rex Battarbee met Albert Namatjira and brothers Edwin and Otto Pareroultja and changed the course of Australian art to release us from a Euro centric view of picture making. Antonietta is a product of her time; it is only natural that she be influenced in this way. I found these colourful paintings fun as I tried to make some narrative out of the patterning and shapes only to surrender to a playful nonsense in my head.

Untitled 1, acrylic, 76 x 52 cm, by Antonietta Sanfilippo

The smaller works on show, encased on the walls in what first appears to be an arcade or promenade; a room which has grown from its original use as a thoroughfare in this fabulous Victoriana warren of rooms which is now a library.


Abstract Forest 2, acrylic, 25 x 25 cm (left), and Swirl, acrylic, 30 x 40 cm (right), by Antoinetta Sanfilippo

Free flowing lines, subdued colours with titles of Breaking Through and Intellectual Dance gave way to memories of Kandinsky's synesthesia paintings where he turned music into static colours. I also wonder if our Sanfilippo was related to the Argentinean Composer of the same name Bruno Sanfilippo b.1965. Do see this show. It is important to get up close to these works to fully appreciate them. It is a big exhibition.

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