About Venice: Recent work by Duart Bel Silva at Westminster Reference Library
Living in London with a passion for the arts can be overwhelming. The abundance of larger galleries can leave any enthusiast in a stupor, inviting us to seek smaller venues outside of the mainstream to take a breath and witness art in the making.
Duart Bel Silva’s About Venice at the Westminster Reference Library is one such gem. This small and heartfelt exhibition demonstrates the range of emotions linear abstraction can evoke in the viewer, reaching from the calm and serene About Venice Blue series to the passionate and fervent About Venice Red series.
The paintings bring a breath of fresh air to the library, famed for its fine art and performing arts collections. Bel Silva, a graduate of the London University of the Arts, spent several years in Venice as a child. Haunted by memories of his experiences many years later, he captures his feelings in the paintings using largely acrylic and Indian inks.
The artist’s new display explores the possibilities of expressing ardent sensations – inspired by the unique Italian city after which the collection is named – by insisting on the flatness of the canvas, not resorting to portraying three-dimensional space. The exhibits are neither impressionistic portrayals of Venice nor expressionist distortions of reality constructed to deliver a sentiment. They are a display of multifaceted responses to lived experience and can be described as an impression of emotions that dare to speak their name.
Inspired by established artists in the field such as Mark Rothko and Agnes Martin, Bel Silva uses the discourse of colour and its relationship with line and form to produce objects which evoke passion without a need for guidance or narrative. The painter starts from a part-remembered, part-imagined landscape, capturing the impressions of place and light in a single moment in time, and then transforms them into his artistic vision. The success of his prowess is most evident in his excellent About Venice Studies series, which toys with both bright and dark colours, shadows and light, displaying perfectly the complexities of experience when living in the floating city.
An audience viewing this display at the Library’s Exhibition Space will not find mainstream art commonly found in London’s larger galleries. Instead, they will be greeted with a sincere display of veracious emotions and invited to walk softly through Bel Silva’s dreams.
The artist will be giving a talk on Thursday 23rd August from 6-7.30pm, in which he will be discussing his work, techniques and the intentions behind the paintings.
About Venice: Recent work by Duart Bel Silva is at Westminster Reference Library from 16th August until 1st September 2018. For further information visit the exhibition’s website here.