Antonella Regi exhibits at Barefoot

The nature of a work of art is to be not a part, nor yet a copy of the real world (…), but a world in itself, independent, complete, autonomous; and to possess it fully you must enter that world, conform to its laws, and ignore for the time the beliefs, aims, and particular conditions which belong to you in the world of reality.

Professor Bradley, Oxford Lectures on Poetry, 1901

I was born in a country, Italy, where people breathe art just as they breathe the air itself, and since I can remember I have been fascinated by architecture as well as by the paintings which are spread throughout the regions where I grew up – Umbria and Tuscany.  I always wanted to be a painter: as a child I did nothing but paint (starting with murals and then frescos in my own bedroom!).

My teachers all thought that I had talent but everyone knows that it is extremely difficult to make it in the art world, so it took months and months of discussions for me to persuade my parents that the Florence Academy of Fine Arts was the place for me.  It was a time when I learnt about the history of art from its origins to the present day and when I got to know the works of Pollock and Mondrian, and at the same time I became acquainted with local Italian sculptors and painters.

Then I moved to London to seek inspiration, teaching Italian part time but spending most of my days in the National Gallery and discovering what was happening in the modern art scene as well.  I worked in a tiny studio in West Kensington and exhibited in various small London galleries as well as in Italy, and since then have never stopped.

Before moving to Sri Lanka I lived and worked for six years in São Paulo, Brazil where I exhibited at the prestigious Documenta Gallery and collaborated extensively with architects and interior designers in various art projects for home decoration throughout Brazil.

Each of my paintings is the fruit of the space where I see it, the product of memories of journeys (Africa, Chile, Brazil, Europe, Turkey, etc.), of sensations, recollections, research.

Every painting takes over my eyes and my hand which tries to be faithful to the canvas using the most varied techniques (mixtures of water, flour, sand, acrylics, spray paint, natural pigments made from spices and vegetables, as well as glass and plastic).   Some canvases are finished after a frenetic day’s work; others only after months, with layer upon layer of paint which add to and alter the mood of the works.

The paintings are all abstract because it is colour that interests me most and because for me after the Renaissance the way in which figurative art represented ‘reality’ reached its perfection.

I paint when I am happy, when I need to express a feeling.  This is why every painting has a very strong emotional association, its own story and a reason to be positive. It is not an ‘art’ of commitment or conflict, it is not to make its viewers think but for them to find enjoyable and relaxing.

Antonella Regi