The Sicilian painter Rosario Tornatore has lived in Cerrina in the province of Alessandria for several decades; by now a permanent choice, but by no means a random one. He lives in a solitary countryside house that has also become his research laboratory, and where he created the works presented here. Relating to the period 2001-2013, they offer a significant and thorough cross-section of the various painting periods that have necessarily evolved over time, and which (in various ways) mark the culmination of the artist's prolific creative maturity.
It is in this calm and embracing environment where, surrounded by nature, he continues to cultivate his long-lasting passion for animals and gardening; and it is here that Tornatore has found the ideal conditions for reinventing the form and content of his sumptuous pictorial imagination. He is currently focusing on the relationship between the construction rationality of (seemingly) abstract geometries, and the sculpturally boundless architecture of pure chromatic energy. In extraordinary transpositions and fantastical prospects, he depicts kaleidoscopic morphologies of possible (if not parallel) "universes", living (though not always visible) matter, light, and infinite cosmic space.
Here in Cerrina, the artist has discovered the best possible place for reflecting and working without external distractions. Indeed, it is the perfect ground for his reckless expressive adventures - a place where he can settle down and withdraw into necessary solitude, far from the frenetic clamouring of those cultural capitals like Rome and Paris where he had always lived and met with well-deserved acclaim (though, to be sure, such places are undoubtedly more advantageous to an artist's career). In contrast, here he can truly concentrate on his painting and devote his full attention to the innermost, hidden impulses of his imagination. Here, he can turn inward to investigate the unreachable depths of that mystery lying at the heart of the very nature of the universe and indeed multi-unverses - places that occupy the immense boundaries of the cosmos. They may be invisible to the most powerful radio telescopes, but not to the adventurous magnifying glass of artistic thought which can see and invoke the invisible. And it is precisely the "invisible" - that which lies beyond the power of visual perception - which constitutes the subject matter of Tornatore's paintings today. His works depict solely the dynamics of generating forces - line, colour, form - which expand and contract. They represent the atrophy and entropy of these natural systems, the spectrographic cubic parabolas and waves reflected in symmetries and asymmetries and projecting themselves according to the rules of planned tangles, joints and spatial evolutions of unusual and fascinating visual rhythms and accents. Tornatore certainly doesn't draw on these concepts and their complex thematic and formal elaborations in order to simulate artificial diagrams of quantum physics or, far less, to imitate or depict the structures of the elementary particles of cosmic matter. Rather, he works by way of analogy, interpreting the non-random, interactive order that moves and produces the original music of creation. His paintings are largely filled with these wonders. He finds himself compelled to inscribe the canvas with this same mysterious harmony, aware that every organism, every life form is part of the same principle of the absolute. For him, painting is a world within a world, a faraway world filled with possible epiphanies, where sign, colour, and light bring together perspectives and visions that would otherwise remain unheard.
From the confines of these paintings, stupefying scenes emerge: multiple perspectives, rhythms and sublime metric geometries, magnetic radiations of unusual chromatic scales and registers, light refracted in a glowing liquid and crystallised into apexes of rotating sunlight, glittering formal trajectories that tend to wander beyond the borders of the painting. These are the expressive elements that Tornatore uses to construct his cosmological "landscapes". We are invited to discover his visions of "possible universes" via the most characteristic medium of artistic imagination, whose fundamental purpose is to reveal what would otherwise be unknowable or imperceptible, and what would remain "unseen".
The exhibition includes large works from different periods of the artist's evolution. Cosmocromie (2000 - 2004) launched the new path of the artist’s unpredictable stylistic development, dominated by the bright, dazzling colour reminiscent (among other things) of the Mediterranean glow rarely captured so well in pure lyrical abstraction. Archecromie (2005 - 2006) displays primitive forms of the “geometry of light”, of a light-colour that generates a dynamism of pervading energies in an expanding rotation, of lines-forces or "strings" (according to a recent theory of modern physics) that resonate with remote multiple, spatial vibrations. Then there is the series of "compositions" - Topocromie (2006 - 2010) - where the spatial organisation of the image amplifies the dimensions of the individual colours and the flowing emission on the linear circuits and sculptural volutes (spherical bodies and elliptical motions) of a bright overflowing sound which is increasingly all-encompassing.
The "esprit de geometrie” (spirit of geometry) and the “esprit de finesse” (spirit of finesse) are reflected and emphasised, becoming inextricably linked in a vision of the absolute that is above all the status of the Esprit(Spirit), or an idea of Being. This is what governs the idea and the feeling of light that guided the artist towards these extraordinary formulations that fully embody an actual "luminous cosmology". The "abstractions" of the most recent series of paintings - Iconocromie - also allude to the same primary origins. Yet even these are but forms of colour-light, pure "forms" free to evolve themselves fluidly and spatially across surfaces, perhaps aspiring to a similar and non-illusory three-dimensionality and, finally, to "appear" in real life under the same spell as their visual splendour, and therefore immune to every convoluted optical-perceptual artifice or merely symbolic suggestion. "Icons" of crystalline purity uniquely aroused by a profound spirituality. These epiphanies of light reveal themselves (as indicated by the title of the exhibition) as "Maps of the Invisible", of that place elsewhere that is echoed and evoked by the activity behind every true creative impulse.
So Tornatore takes us on a trip to his "multi-universes", summoning our gaze - the gaze of the soul - to travel the routes beyond the mirage of fantasy illusions or a merely aesthetic utopia - both so alien to these bright, precise pictorial visions. Instead, he offers us thoughts and emotions relating to other "maps" of beauty - a beauty that is the intangible reality of the very essence of art, today as always.