CURATORIAL NOTE by INNA ROGATCHI
PAINTING IN BLUE: MEANS OF EXPRESSION IN ROGATCHI’S BLUES A CURATORIAL NOTE
by Inna Rogatchi (C), 2011
Regarding the means of expression, the most visible is motifs of natural elements in various combinations. Not surprisingly for blue-dominated canvases, an array of sky-connected elements is extensively present: stars making for subtle context in Amadeus: Star Rain, Yet Another Window, and some others; little clouds in Tuscan Wind, so unbelievably gentle and almost alive that one is willing oneself to touch, subconsciously following the charming girl on the canvas; and the talking moon which seems to be an essential part of the ‘arsenal’ of the collection’s images. But these moons are interestingly different: almost crying in Longing; surprised as if taken by the hidden beauty inside the stone in Black Diamond; gently opaque as some of our own memories in Blue Night Ballad; passionate in the quasi-sensual Arno Blues. And finally, a queen of dreams and inspiration in The Florentine Dimension, one of the most expressive works of the collection.
Customarily for Michael’s style, there is also a plethora of mirrors and windows. Those images are fundamentally important for the artist – “not just due to their reflecting qualities, but mostly because through them we see the reflections of people’s innermost thoughts and memories,” he says.
The composition of the paintings shows through once again as one of the strongest aspects of Rogatchi’s work. Michael is tirelessly looking for bold compositional decisions, and there is a number of original outcomes among the collection’s work as a result: the originality of My Night Guest, the almost empty but in fact hugely accomplished Tuscan Wind, and the almost over-populated, but somehow also very light and airy Blue Night Ballad; the intellectually challenging composition of the first part of the Concert for Cello & Violin diptych (Him), the compositional solutions of The Florentine Dimension and Arno Blues which are typical of the artist’s manner, giving both intellectual and visual joy. The fine balance of Longing, the harmonious C’est Fini, the elegant simplicity of Amadeus, Insomnia and Yet Another Window all bear revealing witness to the artist’s particular brand of thoughtful composition.
Attention to detail is equally characteristic of Michael’s art. In this collection, the artist has developed an interesting way of transforming the significance of certain images beyond what one would habitually expect. The zoomed-in on hands of the guitarist in A Blue Sound, the violinist in Concert for Cello & Violin: Him; the beautifully out-of-proportion feather floating over night-time Florence; the human eyes of the mare in Insomnia and her flowing mane; and that extraordinary red hat among the sea of blue – all these details illuminate the work overall, creating new and memorable images and perspectives.
The artist also uses the reverse effect while working on points of detail, transforming anticipated images into less obvious features. We can see it in the semi-hidden female figures in both Black Diamond and Tuscan Wind; in the semi-transparent male figures in the opaqueness of memory’s mirror in Blue Night Ballad, and also in a dramatic man’s profile in Cappuccino for Two. But perhaps the most interesting of all this category is the barely recognisable but clever and moving shadow of Him behind and above Her, playing on her cello in the Concert for Cello & Violin.
Michael’s taste for depicting fabric is recognisable throughout the collection, and adds to its artfulness. The semi-opaque canvases symbolising dreams, hopes, and instincts are organic to Yet Another Window, Longing, and C’est Fini. And the silky veil that transforms the dreams of a beautiful woman into the images of one of the artist’s most beloved cities, Florence, in The Florentine Dimension, somehow looks and feels like a melody on canvas.
The artist’s use of colour contributes hugely to the overall gentleness of the entire collection – his ability to use white and lighter colours in brilliant contrast to deep blue, yet in a very delicate way, bringing a softness as a unifying and deeply personal and original effect to the whole collection.
Inna Rogatchi, curator of the ROGATCHI’s BLUES exhibition in Florence, Italy, May – December 2011.