Tuesday, 23 December 2008

By The Time You Are Real @ RGG

This seems to have slipped in between the floorboard of the City Life office, so here's the preview/review piece I wrote just before the opening of the, frankly lovely, Nicoletta Ceccoli exhibition at Richard Goodall Contemporary. 

It's dark, chilly and icy; The media is near hysterical with crisis and turmoil, it's all too tempting to utterly withdraw from the world. Put the heating on ( forget the cost, we're all going bankrupt anyway!), pull the duvet over your head and lose yourself in a fantasy world.

In these grim and grisly times, By The Time You Are Real - the new exhibition at Richard Goodall Contemporary - is a welcome break from reality.

Featuring seventeen paintings by the highly acclaimed Italian artist Nicoletta Ceccoli, the exhibition has already, still days before it's official opening, almost completely sold out.

This is Nicoletta's largest exhibition to date. As an artist she has established a loyal following through her book illustrations, and demand for her work is at an all time high. Preoccupied with illustration work, the artist had to snatch time between commissions to complete the paintings for this exhibition.

Richard Goodall explains, " We started talking about the show about a year ago. She's very busy with book illustrations - she does lots and lots of book illustrations - and she had to fit painting in between her book illustration assignments. "

"I eventually got the final one last week, which represents about six months work."

The images are rich and luscious, each one over flowing with careful detail. Doe-eyed, porcelain-skinned girls inhabit a supernatural world, shared symbiotically with equally captivating and perfectly rendered creatures. Traditional logic is thrown to the wind, as these images work to their own enchanted rules.

Although many people assume that these images are digitally produced, they are in-fact meticulously hand painted.

Why do these paintings draw such praise and attention from all quarters? Like the paintings themselves, the answer is more complex than it initially seems.

"I dunno," muses Richard Goodall, "it's a nostalgic thing maybe, people see bits of their youth in these. Then there's that edginess about each one. The is a little bit of an edge, some are a little bit dark, and some are very light-hearted. There is a lot of humour in them.”

These paintings may be in a childish idiom, they have a very thoughtful and adult sensibility.

The palette that she uses is so very delicate.” Richard continues, “Literally everyone who has seen them thinks they are wonderful.”

By The Time You Are Real, the paintings of Nicoletta Ceccoli runs at Richard Goodall Gallery from the 13th of December 2008 till the 31st of January 2009.

Richard Goodall Gallery - Contemporary Art, 103 High Street, Northern Quarter. Open Wednesday - Friday 11am - 5pm, Saturday 12 - 4pm

Image Hide and Seek by Nicoletta Ceccoli curtsey of RGG