The Cynthia Corbett Gallery presents Patrick Pietropoli’s first UK solo exhibition. This French artist, who currently lives in New York started his career as a history and political studies teacher in France before becoming a professional artist. He trained both as a sculptor and painter and many sculptural elements can be found in his work.
Pietropoli is known for his architectural paintings inspired by cities such as Paris, Rome, Venice, Florence, and New York, as well as for his paintings of nudes and portraits of women. Last Tuesday, our networking group met him during an exclusive pre-PV lunch event. There, he explained that he usually works in two stages: first he makes a number of photographs of a particular landscape and starts to paint it. He then deconstructs the landscape by adding elements from his imagination. The same British female model appears in most of his paintings.
In this London exhibition, Pietropoli has added a London dimension to his work by using architectural elements from the city. In his latest works representing landscapes from New York and Paris, he had already juxtaposed his two favourite themes, by placing nudes into urban landscapes. In New York, women appear on billboards like in “Facades de Midtown, 2011”.
In Paris, they are in front of buildings or as statues on the facades of buildings, an example being “Les Trois Muses”. Amazingly, in London, Pietropoli often places his models on top of buildings. He does this in “Eros Triumphans” and in “Pièce montée”, which refers to a centrepiece cake in an architectural form used for formal banquets. The woman located in such a privileged position on top of Christopher Wren’s Monument or St Paul’s Cathedral dominates the city and ”feminizes” the entire landscape. The finesse of the woman’s body’s lines reveals the complexities and elongated shape of the building itself. The woman’s figure in the cloudy sky appears to be carried by the imposing structure of the building.
Pietropoli explains that his main passion is drawing, not colouring. However, there is a real focus on colours, often in the choice of earth colours such as ochre, umber, sienna, and the use of copper. The textures created by the different layers of colours also give an antique feeling to some of the pieces. Pietropoli‘s signature looks like a kind of logo: “qp”, which he sometimes places on the buildings themselves. An example of this can be seen in “Victoriae R VIII”, a painting displaying in the background the Neoclassical Royal Exchange building in the City with the artist’s model, standing on the pedestal with a mask and high heels and looking at us from above.
Pietropoli, Landscape “Vedute” and intimate scenes at Gallery 27, 27 Cork Street, Mayfair, London W1S 3NG, an off-site exhibition presented by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery until 2 July 2011.