Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Academy of Beautiful: Colors of Summer

Now, dear bloglings, before you assume I am posting about some kind of advanced esthetician training program or recommending summer nail polish shades, let me explain. 

The Accademia del Bello is a brand-new cultural center that seeks to recapture aesthetics, beauty and harmony in art. These days, beauty in art has become superfluous: much more important for works of art to express ideas, to communicate, and oftentimes to shock. An enthusiastic exhibit-goer is more likely to leave a gallery disconcerted, disoriented or even depressed than moved and uplifted. While there can be no doubt that without communication, any work of art would fall flat, that doesn't seem like an adequate reason to neglect the aesthetic aspects of art entirely.

Artist Emanuela Tamburini has for this reason created the Accademia del Bello, to remind the art-loving community of the importance of the aesthetic value of art. The Academy is a meeting place for artists as well as all art lovers, hosting themed exhibits and events, as well as offering painting and drawing courses.

I find this initiative refreshing. During my years at New England Conservatory of Music, I remember searching the listening library high and low for the most beautiful music possible. And I often felt that I had to apologize for it. "I have a preference for beautiful music," I used to say, as if I were artistically inferior to my classmates who preferred Hindemith or Berg to my beloved Debussy and Respighi. How lovely to find I'm not the only one!

The Academy's first major exhibit opens tonight with works by Rina Aloe, Wanda Bettozzi, Mario D’Imperio, Francesco Ferlisi, Donato Maiorella and Emanuela Tamburini. The Colors of Summer seeks to celebrate the beginning of the brightest and warmest season of the year with visions of forms and colors in harmony with one another. Yet each work is vastly different from the next, with a wide array of techniques, textures and colors, representing the culmination of a lifetime of experience for each of the six artists.

The exhibit opens tonight, 20 June, at 6pm and runs until 27 June, at the Accademia del Bello, on Via Gaetano Mario Columba, 23 near Via Appia Nuova (Metro Colli Albani). Open everyday from 11am to 1pm and 4pm to 7pm. Drop by tonight to see these paintings, meet the artists, and learn about the specific techniques they employ to create their work.

All images proved courtesy of the Accademia del Bello

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Six Faces across Two Continents, photographs by Phil McKinney

Oh, Bloglings, what can I say after over two months and nary a word penned? How can I ever apologize to my faithful readers? I can imagine you, desperately checking the site daily for a new post, only to have your hopes dashed by seeing, again and again, that I am neglecting you! Or, more likely, you didn't even notice my absence. Ah, well, a girl can dream. I'll try not to take it personally.

The only excuse I can give for this uncharacteristic silence is that I have had more paid writing work in the past two months than ever in my life before. That plus two jobs and the sweltering Roman heat has been enough to put the blog on pause for longer than I'd like to admit. Just as posting everyday makes me more likely to post the next day, failing to post makes it easier for me to skip a post the next day. With such a long dry spell it was going to have to take something very good and very important to get me to start writing again. Well, Bloglings, have I got a treat for you.

© Phil McKinney
This very evening, Wednesday 20 June, an exciting mini-exhibit is being presented by a brilliant, up-and-coming photographer. Phil McKinney hails from Northern Ireland and has lived all over the world, from Rome to Africa to Southeast Asia. A nutritionist who works for several UN agencies, providing valuable research and insights into the nutritional needs of the world's very poorest inhabitants, McKinney spends his free time photographing the very same people whom his work is seeking to help.**

**The photos I have posted here, however, were all shot in Rome. You'll have to come to the exhibit, or check out one of Phil's sites (see below) to see the kind of images I'm describing here.

© Phil McKinney

At Barnum Caffè near Campo de' Fiori, this evening McKinney will be presenting some of his personal favorite snapshots. Like my favorite artist Caravaggio, he has a knack for capturing his subjects' humanity. Unlike so many photographers who travel to the furthest corners of the world to photograph people from all walks of life, often never taking the time to get to know them, McKinney spends several months in each place studying and witnessing the specific problems and issues that face each of his subjects. It is this very understanding of their situation that gives him the insight to capture valuable and meaningful portraits.

© Phil McKinney

The exhibit, lasting one night only, will be particularly rewarding as the artist will be present. As I have the honor of counting him as one of my friends, I know him well enough to know he will be more than willing to illuminate these portraits will commentary on the images and his experiences in capturing them. If my hunch is correct, his photographs will soon be gracing the pages of National Geographic, so stop by to meet him to see some of his stunning images. This way you can say you knew him when, and it might be your last chance, as he is jetting off to Burma at the end of the week for his newest mission.

All photos on exhibit are also for sale, printed on high quality paper, guaranteed not to fade for 50-75 years.

Check out more of McKinney's work on his website, Chasing Phil, his blog, his Flickr page and his Facebook page.

Here are the exhibit details:
Six Faces across Two Continents (A mini exhibit and a farewell)
Wednesday, 20 June 2012, from 7pm onward
Barnum Caffè
Via del Pellegrino, 87 (near Campo de' Fiori)

Hope to see you there!

All photos copyright Phil McKinney and posted with permission.
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