Uberto Tommasi
[Arts critic]
The magic of the master of glass

Entering the studio one feels to hover in a timeless space. The forms speak the language of lights and symbols. Having Having a first glance at his works one gets the impression that the artist has a deep respect for glass. The various pieces are shaped as if they were of marble and their melting is that perfect and seamless that they could be made from gold. The artist is exploring all possible ways to unite to things : his thoughts and his techniques. In his last works La Barbera tries to separate effectively his artistic experience from a new way - his intent is to put his spiritual convictions and his works including obviously the other big themes of life as well : love and death.
The studio - walls are covered with melted glassworks that show playing dolphins, coral barriers, symphonies and human like figures holding bizarre titles such as "MODERATO" and "IO". They seem to be a personalized heraldic conception, expressed by geometrical symbols that form a maze of figures, clusters of vortexes and transparent messages.
The artist's intent is to give the movement of the algae to his works and the colour to the leaves, always keeping alive the transparency of the glass. He plays with geometric forms and of each gesture he gains an inspiration as if it was a greeting or a slow exploring encounter with an unknown person or even a celebration - just like an authentic ambassador of the famous "Sicilian way of life".
It is impossible to remain insensible looking at a work like "Coral barrier", a real exultation of phosphorescent colours or let's take the piece "Liberty" where the artist with ability works out an unique style that belongs to a codified and figurative world.
The first impact with La Barberas's works provokes a kind of bewilderment because of their number. But after a while we are able to perceive genes that seem to be trapped in a crystal world. It'sthe same material-crystal-that the castle was made of in the magician Merlino's saga. According to Vivian's wish the castle had been transformed into a prison for the sleeping magician.
We leave the artist's studio taking with us the colours that the master glass worker used in his works. It is as if he was an old alchemist in search for the magical formula for art - the real one.

 

Isidoro Passanante
[Painter]
THE COLOUR AS AN ADVENTURE OF DESIRE

It's very difficult to define art although we have a clear notion about it. According to a modern Definition art doesn't limit itself to reproduce a picture of the spiritual point of view that has been worked out by the artist but shows the matured spiritual factor.
Eventually art as such doesn't exist, there are only artist. "There were men who sketched with colored soil the shapes of a bison at the walls of the caverns and today they paint publicity ads at the
Metropolitan stations." (E. H. Gombrich, 1950)

The famous artist of abstract art of our century K. Malevitich said: "The artist threw over board all what concerned the objective and ideal structure of life in order to give space to mere sensibility. "
Thus, according to this thought, the artist dosn't feel bound any longer to the surface that is to be worked on but he is able to transport his compositions of structures towards the space. This is a sheer informal concept that excludes evry traditional form of performing where colour is an adventure of desire prior to the sight.

La Barbera is an artist who paints with essential lines. The sign are virtuos images that are followed one by the other like in a breathtaking game. His works are painted dreams - the artist himself is absent but his soul is cleary perceptible. He explores the surfaces with courageous brush
· strokes with focus on the objects' structural elements that represent only a pretext to express his temperament and his determinations.

The prevailing colours of his palette are grey and white in all hues possible, cold blue, solar yellow with intruding touches of erd, orange and green.

When painting is a well performed piece of sounds - then sculpturing is a silicate matter full of light. Painting and sculpturing are one, entire creature what can be explained by their resemblance of their formal inventions, by their stylistic characters that draw them close together in the regin of trasforming imaginations.
The works seen as computed pices posses and essential colour. The artist is capable to adapt the forms he had chosen to the material he uses for his work - a process that completes both the two components reciprocally.
The choise of the material is not only a question of secondary importance - it is essential.
La Barbera thus is working on a distressed process of a phsycal trasformations of the substance.

 

Marcello Palminteri
[Arts Critic]
Leonardo La Barbera or the "metaphor of somwhere else"

The artistical career of Leonardo La Barbera is interwoven with a broad variety of experiences gained during the years of his creativity.
He obtained thus a clear personally marked stylistic peculiarity going through manual experiments that were a firm support in forming and shaping the artistical personality of La Barbera.
The capability of the artist was reached by overcoming the narrow path of manuality in favor of choosing keen strategies to coordinate the structures of his works. The results speak for themselves
- the outcome are masterpieces of originality and rich meaning.
The manual substance is the field where La Barbera carries out every creative experiment and where he improves his expressive instruments continuously according to his proffesional aims. The plastic forms and the pictural solutions of his works reveal a painstaking search for an extreme technical certainty.
Leonardo La Barbera uses fine and bright mixtures that are proved to obtain a precise conversion towards the sign. The material is able to reflect the properties of light in all its rich aspects of waves, vibration and reflection.
Such are the artistical rules of La Barbera - they are alusive and never seizable nor evident. There is given much room to fantastic interpretations especially what regards the artist´s interlacement with natural elements.
Often the works are a result of an aggression of colors and of impetuos expressionistic actions. The surface is glowing with lyrical accents that make us perceive the surrounding world in a somewhat unusual and mystical way. The works of the artist can´t be regarded only as a mere result of an experience but must be seen as the beginning of a journey, as a metaphor of..."somewhere else" to be found only by the help of our imagination.

 

Prof. Nuccio Mula
[Theorist of visual perception / Arts critic]

As an Argonaut of the symbols Leonardo (" nomen est omen ") continues to cross tirelessly the oceans of shining, bright colours, fluid and glittering matters and succeeds even to impregnate sometimes the
" Third Eye " of artistic creation. And yet the artist isn't satisfied and strives for more. He traps on canvas sceneries and horizons in manifold structures that are expressive and even worrying for their magnificence but also for their hectoplasmic testimony of that Unknownthat intrigues and allures us by its mysterious play between Real and Deception. This is the case especially there where innumerable visual sequences of tunnels of steamed up mirrors increase in number and differentiate the mazes of a deceptive retrenchment.
The artist's work can be seen as truthful icons of the conscience and precious finds carved out of an endless journey towards the center of a "me" that is located between thousands of spirals, and that is reincanated in its infinite epiphanies of light.
La Barbera's absolute mastery and his outstanding knowledge to handle signs and gestures makes sure to obtain an extraordinary result of combining the chaos of spatial dynamism and the must of an expressive reasonableness. His productions on canvas and glass are doubtlessly the "summa" of the four natural elements (fire, air, water and soil), handled by a talent that can be positioned at a superior level, i.e. on a stage that enables him to provide us answers to the eternal questions about
"Who are we ?", "Where do we come from ?", "Where do we go to ?"
In all his works but also in each of the partial steps that make up the work the presence of the verve will to resolve the eternal search for the roots of the human heart transpire persistently. Thus the productions of that outstanding artist push us unconsciously towards an impulse of exploring our own memories of the past and the miraculous presence of the "me" in the Beyond and the "Beyond within me".

 

Ranieri Wanderlingh
[Painter]
Surroundings of Leonardo La Barbera

Leonardo La Barbera shows us in his work the sharp and acrid Sicilian landscape with immediacy and with its essential traits. The surfaces of the paintings seem to be scratched with persistence andthe backgrounds appear in vivid colours what is in contrast to the usual, soft way. The compositions as a whole are dynamic and supple.
His scenic works evoke the impression of sea currents and costal winds, odours of citrus fruit and wild growing plants. All these notions are, after all, indissolubly connected with the artist's soul. Other paintings that are more abstract in their way evoke metropolitan panoramas full of cars, streets and houses and other paintings depict biological forms that are welded together like communicating veesels in a filogenetic context.
La Barbera uses a very personel technique and his usual clearness of inspiration provides him the means to be in coherence with this time.

A peculiar moment in the artist's works is the way to depict the light. In some paintings he obtains the alternating shadow-light effect that we notice when clouds in the sky move by quickly. On the earth's surface we notice spots of light and dark in turn. Out of this moment arises and grows a feeling of enthusiasm and we perceive a wish to walk through these fields that become a metaphor of life and its transiency.
In La Barbera's glass works light is a major element. It crosses the forms, gives them light and makes them brilliant. His compositions exult the elements of nature-first of all the element water.
The artist produces fluid forms of crystal matter obtaining in this way marine sceneries, underwater views and sea surfaces that seem rippled by soft, feeble waves of water. All this is being produced with gradually chancing colours as it happens to be under the beams of sunlight.
There are paintings that seem to push in the background the natural elements to give space to the technological aspects. The painting "In città di notte" (City by night) is an emblematic example. It offers us a schematic view on an opaque ground that could mean cars rowed up in a line or lit up rooms all united by a scheme but inevitably different one from the other.
The "informal" character emerges as an original nucleus in all of
La Barbera's works. He develops and improves this style in a very personal way that goes as for the forms as to the contents of his paintings as well.
All the works of the artist can be seen as a mirror of his personality although the production varies in form and style. The author feels free and optimistic and is full of zest, but sometimes frenetic traits prevail that soon sooth down to relaxed brush- strokes. The artist seems to tell us that it is just he who wants to have a saying in his personal destiny that can be put in its proper ruts.

 

Giorgio Trevisan
[Arts Critic]
La Barbera paints out of inner impuls

Leonardo La Barbera is a painter and a glass-artist from
Mazara del Vallo who exhibits his works at the Gallery of San Giorgeto in Piazza Santa Anastasia.
He has been living for long in Germany where he learnt to work the glass combinig the art with his innate taste of colours. Returning home to Italy he continued his artistical research towards an abstract art thatis also full of gestures.
Not by chance an introductory note in a brochure on his personalitycities Pollock frequently, especially when it comes to the famous American painter's words that "the artist must follow his inner impulse without taking in account the critics and the spectators." The immediacy of a gesture or of a state of mood is to be privileged rather than stressing too much on reflective works.
And just this is what La Barbera does. He puts together signs and colours just the way his soul suggests him. He gives space to red colours, to yellow and green and on the canvas we witness a deflagration of colours and emotions. The painter doesn't pay much attention to details but looks attentively to the whole, entire piece of work, that are created under an "impulse of a magnetic force that has its roots in the time ."
The glass sculptures created by La Barbera are not only a simple shifting from the paper to the glass but take the most important traits of his paintings to strengthen the fragile material of what they are made of.