Luciano Ventrone’s paintings are more than eye-catching; the brilliance of their colour is arresting. They literally stop you in your tracks. Andrew Liu and Chloe Ng of Han Art have an exhibition of Ventrone’s paintings in their Westmount gallery, and I had an opportunity to speak with Miranda Gibilisco, Ventrone’s wife and spokesperson. Miranda also assists the artist as a photographer, taking the photos that he uses as a reference for his paintings.

When seeing Ventrone’s paintings – whether a still life or nude model, you are struck simultaneously with the fine detail and the brilliance of the colours. I assumed that each painting must take an enormous amount of time to complete, and Miranda graciously conceded that; “Yes – this is the first question that everyone asks. And yes again, they do take a long time to complete.”

Luciano Ventrone

Gallery owner and artist Andrew Liu with his wife and gallery manager Chloe Ng (right) and the artist’s wife, Miranda Gibilisco (centre)

Continuing, Miranda explains; “Luciano paints very quickly, having developed his technique over many decades. He started painting when he was 18, and now he’s 77. Because the paintings have to dry before additional colours can be added, he works on five or six paintings at a time – allowing drying time before applying the next set of colours.”

Miranda explained that her husband’s paintings can be described as natural, because he uses all the colours of the world. Ventrone is fascinated by colour, and whenever they visit an art supply store, she knows that she is for a long wait – that Luciano will spend hours buying paint. “He doesn’t mix paint colours on a pallet, rather he uses tube after tube of undiluted colour, using brushes that are as fine as a woman’s eyeliner make-up brush.”

“He begins with one of my photographs, and projects it on a canvas. He uses a pencil, then coloured pencils, then watercolours, and then acrylic paint on top of the watercolours. He’ll apply a transparent fixative before going to the next step of adding oil paints – all the while with the tiny brushes. This layering gives depth and intensity to the colours of the paintings.”

It’s the tiny brush strokes, using pure colours in layers that give the brilliance to Ventrone’s paintings. He paints in the style of Caravaggio. Ventrone’s career was given a boost when the famous Italian art critic Frederico Zeri visited Miranda and Luciano. He was so impressed with Ventrone’s works, that he asked the artist if he would paint a bowl of fruit for him – in the style of Caravaggio. Ventrone fulfilled the critic’s commission, with a twist. The fruits he painted in the bowl were not available in Italy during Caravaggio’s lifetime. The plaudits from Zeri garnered international recognition for the artist.

The exhibition at Han Art is an opportunity to see and indeed – experience an array of truly unique and magnificent works of art. Sales are going well – as collectors recognize that this is also an opportunity to purchase a truly unique work of art. Luciano Ventrone – Eternal Realm of Vision continues until July 20.

Han Art is located at 4209 rue Ste-Catherine West, Westmount, Quebec, H3Z 1P6. 514-876-9278.

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