Art in the Garden: Hope by Laura Fantini
“I am a hyper-realistic minimalist artist living and working in both Brooklyn, NY and Bologna, Italy, who specializes in life- size colored pencil still life. In my ‘Still Lives,’ pencils are my paint and paper is my canvas.” Laura Fantini is an Italian artist whose latest art is showcased in a solo exhibition at the Queens Botanical Garden. Hope (running through April 29th) presents a body of work that comprises drawings from her new series which is inspired exclusively by seeds.
“In this collection the power of seeds plays a fundamental role,” Fantini has declared, “It is a positive and optimistic message because seeds represent hope and a new beginning. They are an integral part of who we are and emblematic of birth and growth. They are small, but complicated and mysterious, and what they do is extraordinary and magnificent. Without seeds life would be threatened, from human beings to plants and animals. Sometimes a seed is all that remains of a plant. It is the beginning and the end, but also the hope for the next generation. Through my detailed small drawings the viewer can realize how a pencil for an artist can be as powerful as a tiny seed in nature.”
These drawings (10x10 inches – 16x16 inches, framed size) are based on seeds mostly found in the US and at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but also in Italy.
“In my artistic process, I start with the observation of what is around me. There is always a strict relation between my feelings, the surroundings and the objects that catch my attention. I adore observing nature. It is a source of true inspiration for my art and an escape from the chaotic urban life. I search for seeds, leaves and flowers and often take photographs to record the constant change of the elements I find. But my flowers, seeds or leaves are more than mere objects. My artworks do not only represent the reality of the ‘still life objects’ I paint, but also the unique and intimate interpretation of emotions, memories and human relationships.”
For the past two decades, Fantini’s artistic practice has been completely dedicated to colored pencils. Her subjects are the rendering of simple still-life objects found in nature. Her style is smooth and her work appears to be almost photographic at a first look. However, a closer look reveals great intricacy of detail. From thousands upon thousands of precise, distinct, cross-hatched pencil-strokes, Fantini builds up rich tones and nearly a tridimensional execution.
“The essential elements of my artworks are composition, drawing, contrasts and symbolism, but also realism and simplicity. I love the poetic potential of simple objects. The arrangement is modest and minimalist: few objects can stand alone to make a complete composition dominated by a critical use of shadows. My art is defined by strong contrast values and highly theatrical compositions with dramatic lighting and abstract symbolic backgrounds. From thousands upon thousands of precise, distinct, cross-hatched pencil-strokes, I build up rich tones.”
Laura Fantini was selected by Profilo d’Arte – Banca Profilo among the most interesting emerging Italian artists. Her many exhibitions include those at the Museo della Permanente in Milan and Galleria Forni in Bologna, at the Staten Island Museum in New York, at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, at the Museum José Malhoa in Portugal and Denise Bibro Fine Arts in New York, among others. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Hunt Institute – Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, at the Monaco Government Tourist Office in New York, and in numerous private collections in Italy, UK, US, and Japan. Ms. Fantini is a member of the Salmagundi Club in New York and a Signature/Merit Member of the Colored Pencil Society of America.
Fantini has won various awards including First Prize in the First Annual Sylvia Glesmann Floral Exhibition and the Jane Peterson Memorial Award at the Salmagundi Club in New York. She also received The Canson Paper Award for Excellence and the Award for Exceptional Merit from the Colored Pencil Society of America.
Hope by Laura Fantini at the Queens Botanical Garden
January 9 - April 29, 2018
Artist Talk and Horticulture Walk – Sunday, March 25, 2-4pm
Closing Reception – Saturday, April 14, 2-4pm