The colors of nature by Frank DePietro at the Station Gallery
● By J. Chambless
‘Water Lilies No. 46’
Artist Frank DePietro has the advantage of living in a home on the Longwood Gardens property, surrounded by spectacular plant life, and it’s easy to see how much he enjoys the shapes of waterlily leaves, and the way light reflects off the still water surrounding them in the pools at Longwood.
His solo show, “Ephemeral,” at the Station Gallery in Greenville, Del., is a vivid exploration of shades of green and delicate blooms. DiPietro captures, with uncanny accuracy, the way water pools in the hollows of the lilies, and he puts the leaves into stark contrast against a background of blue sky reflected in the mirror-smooth water.
“Ephemeral” certainly describes the fragile blooms and silky leaves throughout the show. The way light reflects, or passes through, flower petals gives many of the paintings a striking, nearly three-dimensional quality. It’s a sleight of hand that DePietro achieves without any apparent heavy reworking of the oils he uses. Close inspection of the canvases reveals his pigments are as silky as the leaves he depicts.
His smaller oils of leaves – toned and pitted and imperfect – have his distinctive trompe l’oeil technique, and a glow that makes them pop out of their backgrounds.
“From Chartreuse” is a symphony of green-to-russet tones, and “Leaves No. 1” looks like you’re seeing them suspended in a clear autumn sky. “Lotus No. 14” shows a gentle, curving leaf shape that’s open to an expanse of sky.
In his artist’s statement, DiPietro writes, “My paintings are inspired by close observations of the natural world. They display a quiet, meditative quality, contemplating our connection with nature as organic beings and part of the cycle that renews all organic life. I attempt to capture ephemeral moments on canvas in a crisp and technically sharp manner, with a mindfulness of modern compositional concepts inherent to the medium of painting. They are reflections of the relationship to the changing notion of what nature is and what meanings our relationships to it have given us.”
Taken as a group, the paintings in “Ephemeral” surround you with lush, natural greens and sky blues – like a trip through Longwood Gardens on a crystal-clear day.
“Ephemeral,” new paintings by Frank DiPietro, continues at the Station Gallery (3922 Kennett Pike, Greenville, Del.) through April 27. Call 302-654-8638 or visit www.stationgallery.net.
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.