A COLORFUL SLAP IN THE FACE: A SERIES OF PASTELS DRAWINGS BY Maria Grazia Facciola
On a late Friday night last December, not sleepy enough to go to bed, I decided to browse the Netflix on-line portal. I came across a selection that piqued my interest: a biography on the life of Modigliani. Though the story of the painter was greatly romanticized, I went to bed nonetheless, inspired by both the movie, and the life of this artist from Paris in the early 1900s.
The following morning, wide awake and well-rested after a good sleep and a strong coffee, I was overcome by an uncontrollable desire to draw. I sat for a moment paying attention to this overwhelmingly strong feeling, and I almost laughed at myself because I do not draw, nor do I paint , yet here I was, compelled to do both. It's as if I had been visited by “someone” who had just slapped me around to wake me up out of a slumber, in order to express his/her creativity through me.
I followed this desire to grab a brush and a pencil. At that moment, I remembered that somewhere, I had a box of pastels purchased years ago, along with some archival paper for charcoal, which had been sitting in a drawer collecting dust.
I pulled out the drawer, dumping its contents onto the dark wooden floor of the living room. I kneeled on the floor, and while I cautiously approached the first drawing I looked to familiar ground for some inspiration. Sifting through a pile of photography portraits, I found the first one that "spoke" to me, and immediately began drawing the first line, followed by the second, then third, and then I started applying color.
In looking at the drawings, the long necks of all the women depicted are clearly inspired by the elongated figures of Modigliani's works. Is there a metaphor hidden somewhere? Are the long necks stretched, reaching beyond their familiar range of sight? Striving to see further than what's immediately in front of them? Are the bold colors used as a means of standing out in a crowd? Are these long exaggerated features a way to shake up the senses of the admirer? And those big eyes... what are they seeing beyond those long, thick lashes? There’s much intensity and melancholy in them.
Who are these various colorful women? Who do they represent? Each subject is enigmatic and intriguing in her own way. If you had to choose one, which one would you chose? One who looks like you, or one you would like to resemble, or maybe more than one to represent the different aspects of your personality? These women, are wonderful, vibrantly colored, complex, layered beings. The essence of all women.
So far, I have been following the whisper of my visitor and more I follow it, the louder it gets. For now, the visitor is still here residing in me, or at least I like to think so. It might sound odd, but it’s comforting.
This is so unexpected that I’m forced to pay attention to it all. This creative and colorful, “wakeup slap in the face”causes my eyes to burn and my skin to tingle, pulsing, beating, burning… transforming me in an amusing way; perhaps giving me a new face, one I want to share with everyone.