Graziano Negri (Azzahra, 1957 – Castions di Strada, 2013) placed colour at the centre of his artistic research. His experimentation led him to use different media made of acrylic colours, polyurethane resins, and alkyd varnishes pigmented with natural and metallic powders, together with diverse forms of support: jute, wood, and aluminium.
In his early works, such as Sacco al verde (1990), Negri made use of unframed jute onto which he spread wide portions of white paint. Within this sort of minimalist composition and reduction to the essential, what attracted him was the conjunction between colour and surface.
In the following phase, he began to lay out horizontal coloured stripes on the upper part of broad canvases coated in white, as in Senza titolo (1992). At this point, the artist’s concern was no longer oriented towards the comprehension of where a specific creative process occurs, but rather on what happens in a defined space.
The series of works entitled Eponimi date to the beginning of the ‘90s. Here, colour completely inundates the painting’s surface. By using the glaze technique of the superimposition of multiple layers of paint, the painter achieved effects of transparency, luminescence and vibratility.
Later on, memory of the artistic experiences of the past became fundamental for Negri, hence the several homages to Paolo Veronese, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Morandi. In Rembrandtiana (1999), Negri tried the Flemish painter’s technique of chiaroscuro, whereas in A Paolo Veronese (2006), he rediscovered the glimmering and marbling of the colours done by the Venetian artist.
In the cycle Scaramazza, dating 2008-2009, Negri emphasised gesturality, by digging into the material until the metallic support is exposed and creates turmoils, fluctuations in signs, characterised by the pearly glimmer of the pictorial epidermis, which restore themselves in a unceasing motion.
Between September 2011 and September 2012, the painter created his last artistic work La pittura in bosco, whose title, literally ‘painting in the woods’, takes inspiration from the book of poems Il Galateo in Bosco, written between 1975 and 1978 by Andrea Zanzotto - the book title makes a pun upon the oxymoron established by the word ‘galateo’, meaning ‘etiquette’ or ‘breeding’, as in a set of rules within society, and ‘bosco’, symbolising the opposite: what is unbred, uncivilised, natural and wild. The series consists of thirty tulipier wood boards. By relying on a support which is a substance of natural origins, the artist had to accept its transformations over time - which Negri especially embraces in terms of colour-light ratio. In this way, the forest becomes a metaphor for life, for the reality of things. The painter exhorts us to open up, to not draw any boundaries.
After completing his technical commerce studies, Graziano Negri (Azzahra, Libya, 1957 – Castions di Strada, 2013) studied literature at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and followed the art history classes of Giuseppe Mazzariol, later becoming a student at the preservation and restoration school of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region at Villa Manin in Passariano. He began exhibiting his own work at the beginning of the ‘80s.
From 1988 on, he collaborated with the Plurima Gallery of Udine and Milan. Abroad, he partnered with the Lil’ Orsay Gallery of Paris and the APC Galerie of Cologne and Fribourg.
While at the early stages of his artistic journey his painting could be labelled as figurative, very close to the waves of Pop art and symbolic figurativism. He subsequently approached abstract and aniconic painting.