Pier Toffoletti is an artist in motion but his journeys, which take him to every corner of the globe, are not just intercontinental; they are also journeys through time. At the age of 12 he was given two books on Michelangelo and Cézanne and became fascinated with their work; this sparked a passion for history of art, from the Renaissance masters to Italian post war abstract artist Afro Basaldella. ‘I have always been attracted to the great masters who broke apart the figure to bring out the emotionality of sign and color — emotion at its purest. I feel rooted in the Renaissance, and heir to the great classical authors. My work is an attempt to put my two souls — the figurative and the informal one, in communication.”
The intensity and magic of Pier Toffoletti’s painting arises from the conflict between vision and abstraction which leads him to work on two levels. The first focuses on ordered chaos and beauty represented by the purity and sincerity of a female face. The drama begins when he creates this figurative ideal within an abstract framework which cannot hold it, and the figurative work emerges to overcome the chaos. The face becomes a symbol for the essence of our humanity, says Pier Toffoletti, “nature stripped of all prejudice or disguise.”
As they emerge, the clear-eyed women in Pier Toffoletti’s arresting portraits gaze out through a mass of disarranged brushstrokes formed from paints mixed with powdered marble dust, clay or sand. The classical beauty of these female subjects, the natural textures and the medium used in the creative process make them powerful symbols of both feminine beauty and nature itself; alongside this they are dominated by subtle gradations of black and white tones overlaid with luminous veils of colour which bring an understated yet intense element of modernity to the execution.