Italian artist featured at SMSU’s Whipple Gallery

MARSHALL – Retired Southwest Minnesota State University art professor Ed Evans worked for several years to bring the work of Italian artist Giovanni Lombardini to Marshall.

“It is an excellent art and cultural opportunity for the people of southwest Minnesota, South Dakota and northern Iowa to see works of this renowned artist,” Evans said.

Lombardini’s work will be on display through March 27 at the William Whipple Gallery at Southwest Minnesota State University. The artist constantly shows in Europe, but Marshall is his only American exhibit, said Evans.

Evans said this exhibit is different from anything that was previously exhibited in southwest Minnesota and is especially important for art students.

“An artist can go quite far by simply being different, but Giovanni’s work is highly accomplished and unique in how he so successfully blends industrial technology with creative self-expression,” Evans said. “A special thing about painting is achieving light. Giovanni is a master of light and is one of (the most) sought after artists in Italy.” Lombardini creates glossy formica surfaces which emit brilliant color and light. The artist heats thin liquid acrylic pigment that passes through vats and is applied onto wood panel supports, Evans said.

Evans recently attended the art fair in Verona, a juried art show of top quality established galleries. He said Lombardini was represented by more galleries than another other artist in the exhibit.

Lombardini lives and works in the Romagna region, near the city of Rimini.

Through a translator, Lombardi said the presence of material things and affections drove, in the 1970s, his research on Arte Povera binary. From early works with grass and the written to the stars of soap, to the large pictorial surfaces obtained by rubbing petals and leaves of grass on the canvas.

“The choice of materials is obtained from a reflection on the primarity of natural phenomena and on the structure of sensory behaviors,” Lombardini said.

Lombardini said his present work often looks on those experiences and now presents itself as if it were a photograph of the memory.

“In these days, I’m preparing a personal exhibition at the Palazzo Ducale in Urbino, where (I) will compare some works of this period, 1971-1973, with those made between 2003 and 2013, in order to emphasize the continuity and the origin of my thinking,” Lombardini said.

In the late 1980s, Lombardini worked for a long time intervening on virgin X-ray plates. Later, this material has allowed him to discover the use of the formica as a support where the color can expand and slip through the force of gravity, helped by the very smooth surface, Lombardini said.

“At the end of this application, I use the transparent glossy lacquer to enhance and protect the color and make the surface almost reflective,” he said.

Lombardini said his work has been exhibited mainly in Italy. In 2004, he had a solo exhibition at the Gallery Barbara Behan in London. He has participated in exhibitions at art fairs in Shanghai, Tokyo and Miami.

When he was asked what keeps him creating, Lombardini said it helps him to create the curiosity to see what will be the next job, how does he make an evolution to the way he operates.

“What impulses may still emerge?” he said. “And so on, painting after painting. And also, to be the first to observe something that did not exist before and, at the end of the operation, you can touch, caress and be reflected in it.”

Lombardini said Evans has encouraged him to exhibit in the United States, considering the most appropriate place to present this body of work.

“I look forward to the coming of any comments,” Lombardini said.