I admit that until I received I received an invitation to visit her exhibition at Serena Imagine Arts Centre, I was unfamiliar with the art of Barbara Borromeo. As such, visiting the exhibition – called simply Barbara – produced to be a delightful revelation: Barbara Borromeo is an exceptionally talented artist, who produces art that is stunning in its depth.
Reached via the teleport disk near to the art centre’s landing point, Barbara’s work is presented in an overhead gallery space, offering a total of twelve pieces of her work (13 if you count the furniture laden carpet, which is also of her design). These present the visitor with scenes that are by turn, beautiful, strange, haunting, nuanced, and rich in potential narrative.
Such is the diversity of styles on offer, it is clear that Barbara is not someone defined by one or two stylistic approaches; rather, she immerses herself in whatever genre best suits the story she wishes to convey. Thus is that some of the pieces here sit in what might be regarded as the genre of fantasy, others are perhaps based on and more abstracted approach to their subject matter; others are rooted in a form of avatar expressionism, while some embrace the use of a broad colour palette, while others are confined to more primary shades.
To offer interpretations on these pieces would in a sense be wasted; while each clearly stands apart from its neighbour, so too they are united in the depth of narrative each contains – although it is up to each of us to interpret the individual stories, whether it is relative “simplicity” of Vintage Car, or falling into the haunting depths of Prison or Dark and Gold or the captivating beauty of Princess.
That said, I found myself particularly drawn to Princess and Avatar (both seen above). These both contrast with one another, and yet are joined through their construction. Within Princess, there is a wonderful fusion of images from Second Life and the physical world, caught within an almost surreal fantasy montage that is simply captivating in its use of darker monochrome tones. Similarly, Avatar offers a somewhat fanciful, surreal image, but one that in a reverse of Princess, using white and grey, rather than darker tones, together with a delicacy contained in the pencil-like strokes of the background image, to form that strong but complimentary contrast to Princess, making them ideal partners in this exhibition.
It is this layering of ideas within the offered works that is perhaps most captivating: when looking at some of them, the subtle construction may not be immediately apparent, but reveals itself slowly. Take Boudoir as an example. The eye tends to be immediately dawn through the “hole” in the wall and to the woman dressing herself, and the ghostly face observing us. Through these were are perhaps drawn into the role of voyeur caught in the act. Both figures can easily dominate the focus of attention, and it is only after re-appraising the image as a whole that the true nature of the darker elements of the “wall” might become apparent, adding a shift in the narrative the image contains.
A captivating, entrancing display of art, Barbara remain open through until July 22nd, 2018.
- Serena Imagine Arts Centre (Serena Imagine, rated: Moderate)