The painting of Angelo Navetta


When, I met Angelo Navetta this summer during a poetry evening, I didn’t
know that Navetta was a painter, neither did he know of my literary activity,but I perceived his sensitivity and I believe that also he perceived mine.From that moment our meetings have become more frequent and I have been able to be acquainted with Navetta’s pictorial world, and to deepen a relationship which has become profitable, interesting, stimulating.Some years ago Navetta painted entrusting the power of his expressivity to vast backgrounds which often had a circle in the middle. It was the tension towards perfection, towards light which “compelled him” to move in those spaces, which however had nothing sidereal about them and despite the lack of shapes they appeared vast warm glades. The relationship with the infinite passed through the heart, through the sentiment, spread and produced colours and shades whose tones extended into a deep embrace with nature Navetta did not evade this embrace, in fact he charged it with symbols, even metaphors and allegories, until he gave his works an almost mystical spiritual value, sensually mystical, physically gentle and persuasive.Navetta, at the time, was convinced that man has to find inside himself the reasons for his being and not in the jurisdiction of a job that one is obliged to do for sustenance. He worked abroad, his tension and his attention always had to be alert for negotiations and other tasks and when finally he found the moment to relax, to give in to himself, then the paintbrushes, to use a strong image, pawed to excavate into the real self, to read the world in its unpublished dimension, to fathom the mysterious passages of light through echoes which came to him from afar, from the brilliant dawn, from his radiant land of origin, open to the winds, to the myth.Our painter then, slowly, brought modifications to his own artistic panorama.The painted subjects became more fundamental, the backgrounds stirred and from reds, browns and greens turned into a little blue, a little yellow and ochre.But now the game is not played on the interposal of the backgrounds and the geometric shapes created by colour used directly from the tube. The substance has revealed its secret, the chrysalis has become a butterfly, and so every painting has become a song to life, a window onto the world.The Portrait of the daughter, for example, does not look at stopping the strokes of the face with realistic harshness, the young girl is caught in the charm of her twenties, in the sweetness of a rich, fresh age, but not alone; around her moves the shadow of a boy and the symbolic objects of her existence.But the most remarkable achievement Navetta shows in those paintings in which he gives free play to its symbolic-esoteric necessity. One notes the details of the hands, which return again and again in various forms, one notes the countermelody of a detail which has been the torment of many artists even of the Renaissance. Angelo Navetta doesn’t hesitate to emphasize the anatomical form of the hands in their perfection, once again the realistic element doesn’t really interest him. He is interested in containing in the palm of the hand, in the form of the hand, a series of situations and indications which result in offering and in warning.The hand builds, models, destroys, caresses, shoots, but never blindly carries out orders. On some occasions in fact, we see that Navetta includes an eye or some
other detail to avoid creating confusion. Therefore a meeting is sparked off between flowers or still life, or books, or something else, so that the hands remain in the purity of their message, in the absoluteness of a truth to which it is necessary to cautiously draw closer to, to finally find the answered meaning of things. If we start from the assumption that the hand expresses the idea of power, of control and of activity, we can understand immediately which mental mechanisms bring forth a pictorial element thus emphasised but never made (this must be underlined) a cliché.In a volume of oriental curiosites one can read in a Taoist book, entitled The Treaty of the Golden Flower, that the hand is discussed illustrating the alchemic sense and the etymologic roots. This would be an irrelevant detail if we did not know that Navetta had spent a long time also in India. But for Angelo the hand is also a regal emblem (moreover the Hebrew word iad means hand and means power); I have not noticed whether he paints mostly the right hand or the left one. For the Chinese, the left hand means wisdom, and if I am not mistaken, this is also the same in the Buddhist world. However we never see the hand closed because that of Buddha never is. Naturally we can continue on this road for quite a way, because the hand has been depicted and interpreted in a thousand different ways, from South America, to Asia, to Europe. For Angelo, I believe, it is a matter of an exclusively human synthesis of masculine and feminine, on which symbols of Cabbala create a shortcircuit of emotions and establish a mystery relationship. However,I repeat, it is not along this road that we must accompany Navetta’s painting,but along that of the realisation, of the aesthetic solutions.During a long conversation with him, he declared, candidly but firmly, thathe knows how to paint. It could have seemed an affermation – ight-heartedor thrown in to provoke me, it is instead a self recognition of identity, which must wipe out any doubts immediately. In fact, those who pause with attention to observe Angelo’s works notice that every brush-stroke is the fruit of a long job which nevertheless does not rely on chance, but is prepared with care and skill. The quality of the brush-stroke is immediately visible, and tangible is the rythmn which runs through the painted subjects that with each other weave a tight body to remain themselves and yet at the same time become part of the perfectly amalgamated whole. All this becomes possible because Angelo Navetta, unlike improvisers and profit-seekers, paints for his need. His internal richness is great, the ideal incentives high, the pleasure of communication felt and suffered. Meeting his painting means finding or discovering a liveable, airy, palpable place.No asphyxiated atmospheres, no dismal presentiments, no short-lived syllabification,no loans from memory which often pile up stories and combine certainties and incertainties; Navetta sings out his ideal of beauty and he does it with a pure heart, with the amazement of one who discovers, each time, that behind the exterior, behind the shapes, there are treasures of every type.In short, he paints convinced that the growth of human beings depends always and forever on artists.

                 Dante Maffìa

A as a flight

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