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Art of Giovanni La Cognata
by Antonella Gallo

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Detail of 'Strade di Palermo' (Streets of Palermo), oil on canvas, 2000.His work might be described, however loosely, as "impressionistic" in style. Each large canvas represents a scene --or person-- typical of the complex Sicilian landscape, which is invariably more complicated than it seems, often concealed beneath thick layers of history. It is a place Giovanni La Cognata knows well. He was born in Comiso, near Ragusa in southeastern Sicily, in the 1950s, and passed the 1980s in Milan. He has exhibited throughout Italy, as well as abroad (in London and Munich), though he now resides in his native Comiso, in the Sicilian hinterland.

In most of his paintings, what strikes the observer is La Cognata's use of colour. It is keenly true to life yet vibrant as only a painting can be. There is also the sense of an eloquently simple composition, more appealing than anything found, randomly, in life. Yet these paintings are based on life, or at least a visual slice of it.

The technique is based on impasto in oil on rather large canvases. The subjects, which, like the compositions, seem simple, are not. In reality, they represent the best of the past, the present and, in the case of the rural landscapes, the eternal. Everything, from the shapes to the brush strokes, is carefully considered without being over-studied or over-worked. This is a sign, accepted the world over, of a mature artist. A universal standard.

It is the kind of artistic vision that, while often imitated, is created anew only with dedicated effort and a secure conceptualisation few artists ever achieve. La Cognata achieves it..

About the Author: Antonella Gallo, who teaches art in Rome, has written numerous articles on arts and artists for Best of Sicily.

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© 2003 Antonella Gallo