In resolving the problems of representing color and light, Giuseppe Santomaso relies on the daily experience of his native Venice, fortified by knowledge of classical culture. His development of a non-objective mode of expression for his perceptions of nature was influenced by American abstract art, particularly after his visit in 1957 to New York, where he met Willem de Kooning, Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko. Santomaso uses nature as a “visual pretext” (to employ his own term), absorbing it and changing it into pictorial form; the resultant painting derives its impact not from the imitation of nature, but from the tension between art and nature. Life can be imparted to abstract form only through its disposition in an “abstract order.” Santomaso refers to the eye’s exploratory adventure as it perceives the “secret combination” of things in nature and their “fantastic equivalent” in painting.¹ The title of this work alludes to the encounter of life and art, and draws attention to the hint of a centralized human figure, the structural features of which appear and disappear, easily mistaken for the random patterns seen on a peeling Venetian wall. The romantic colors—rose, gray, smoky blue, warm browns, and ochers—evoke gentle nostalgia.
1. Conversation with the author, June 1981.