The magic of the master of glass
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
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.
THE COLOUR AS AN ADVENTURE OF DESIRE
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)
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
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
· strokes with focus on the objects' structural elements
that represent only a pretext to express his temperament and his
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.
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
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.
Leonardo La Barbera or the "metaphor of somwhere else"
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.
[Theorist of visual perception / Arts critic]
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
" 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".
Surroundings of Leonardo La Barbera
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
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
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
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.
La Barbera paints out of inner impuls
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.