| As it always has
been in the Townships at this time of year, September stretches and
yawns summer’s warm weeks into day-long cuddles.
As if on cue, children are left to schools while morning coffees warm bodies as they did the spirits just weeks ago. There is an undefined feeling of impending change in the air.
Brome fair is now history, there are few if any flowers left to pick, lawns won’t beckon to be mowed. The in-between season is upon us, that slice of inter-season which leaves us in a transitional state, seeking something to occupy our senses while nature curtains for a set change.
The exhibit of works by Sutton painter Vita on display at Galerie Charmante offers both solace from post-summer blues and a form of respite from its fast food and even faster entertainment diet. The collection of twelve paintings centred on the freedom afforded women by the bicycle, each bearing political, religious and sociological overtones is a welcomed far cry from the still-life fare that one all too readily finds throughout the area. Rare are the opportunities to see nudes performing such acts of irreverence to dogma and legislation.
Although not intellectually trying, the works will assuredly be as visually shocking to some as they are morally challenging to others. Simply put, this exhibit offers a purely captivating opportunity to allow oneself to be taken by challenging paintings, the depth of which is nothing short of stunning.
Therein may lie Vita’s intention, to make a clear statement as humanly, or in this case artistically, possible while remaining distant himself. No confounding artist and works in this case, the art speaking its own volumes needs little reliance on mere mortalism. These are paintings for people to enjoy; real works that everyone can “get” without having their minds all bent out of shape; they are expressions bent on captivating hearts and interest with their frankness, texture, magnificent colours and superb rendition.
Vita’s first thematic ensemble requires little in terms of deciphering, yet can challenges ones introspective ability, at least at the level of current worldly affairs. They could, without risking one’s liability, be considered their author’s silent outcry against man’s orchestrated abuse of both God and women, a shared heading not all will be comfortable with.
As an initial venture into the world of non-commercial art by a former Art Director with a marketing firm, Vita’s choice of quasi-surreal style striking media and delicate topics is the visual equivalent of a grand entrance in a Verdi classic.
Depicted as shared offerings for sexists and anti-feministic defilement, the female form and that of its creator appear to have become entangled in a simple cryptic message that Vita aptly conveys. “The collection is first a reverence towards women of various ethnicities and cultures. But it is also a denunciation against religion, against the misogynist-dominated religions that serves men as an instrument to reduce women.” Vita exclaimed recently during a lively trilingual exchange.
As unfettered face-valued sociological metaphors, the pieces can easily stand alone. As creative works of art they command respect. In affinity to Dali and Picasso's work, Vita does well in conveying a message drawing together disparate elements to weave a tale of defiance and strength. For instance, in what is arguably the collection’s most captivating piece, a woman lies prone while resting her legs along the base of a tall crucifix against which she has leaned her bicycle. The pale wooden Christ’s lamenting eyes seem all the more intent at imploring the Father’s mercy at this added desecration. Or should it be at the desecration of spirituality?
Clearly Vita doesn’t count himself among those whose belief in God’s incarnation on earth as a man, has led to His or Her symbolism becoming greater than the deity itself. Vita elects to look beyond the three dimensional characterisation of God and women and creates an allegory of their interrelation.
Nearly magically, the nudes step beyond the initial shock their impudence provokes by conveying an inner sense of calm, of personal serenity, a sense of accomplishment at having overcome the bondage their gender commands.
In the nudes’ realism one can see the painstaking four years that Vita invested into their realisation.
Vita, a self proclaimed agnostic whose Mediterranean origins and subsequent travels have led to cultural multiplicity, has witnessed firsthand the ravages of unrestrained domination.
“I have seen fantastic women reduced to a subservient role by organised religions. I have seen the waste that was left when these women didn’t become what they could have.”
If Vita has a bone to pick with the human injustices committed in the name of religion and state, the scope of his aversion to injustice is more boundless than is translated here. He is currently working on another series of canvasses aimed at denouncing further acts of man’s lack of humanity.