When you think of a fresco, you will immediately make an association with the past.
... rightly so, because the tradition is very old and goes back far before our era.
Pigments set in wet lime
Fresco technique is all about pigments and wet lime.
Wet lime is the medium in which the pigments are absorbed. After drying, a crystallised/ petrified integral body is created in which the pigments are captured.
That's where my abstract contemporary art meets the frescoes from the past.
The earliest frescoes found may have been made 30,000 years ago, but the name fresco has its origins only in Renaissance Italy when Giorgio Vasari uses the term to describe the different techniques used by him and his contemporaries in his books Le vite de piú eccelenti pittori, scultori, e architettori.
Today, frescoes are still being made in the so called Renaissance tradition, decorating the walls of for instance churches and palaces.
On a wall
Given that in our modern times art is not necessarily intended for a specific space on a building, my frescoes deviate from tradition in that they are portable.
The Mexican muralist painter Diego Rivera was already making portable frescoes in the 1930s, although those were still very heavy walls reinforced by steel and cement. Wouldn't he have been delighted to use styrofoam, had it been invented before his time!
The carrier of my work is linen canvas stretched on a wood and aluminum frame, onto which I apply layers to which the fresco can adhere.
In the case of a specific architectural application, I proceed to mount it on a panel fitting the work perfectly to a wall, as if it were a fresco made in situ.
Where as a typical Renaissance mural painting often exhibits traces of each day's campaign, a giornata, my work, which is abstract, requires no plan in advance.
My frescoes are part of an age-old tradition.
In Europe, for example, we know these from the Greek and Roman times. Similar techniques have been used throughout the ages, from India to Latin America. The first frescoes date back to thousands of years before our era.
My frescoes are made with traditional materials such as lime and pure pigments. From an art-historical perspective, they do not match all the technical and aesthetic features of the Renaissance mode, but they do embody the main characteristic that the pre-Renaissance frescoes also meet: Wet lime is the medium in which the pigments are absorbed. After drying a crystallised/ petrified integral body is created, in which the pigments are captured.
My frescoes are contemporary. The work is abstract and the process is very labour-intensive, composed of myriad layers, where happenstance, imperfection and irregularity are cherished. Through 'craquelure', oxidation and erosion, underlying sections appear that blend with the upper layers.
The ultimate result sometimes has an impressionistic character. It can be seen as a mirror of our lives, formed layer-on-layer by events along the way, but above all leaves all the space to the viewer to add meaning with their own imagination.
- Dolphin Fresco, Knossos, Crete, Greece.
- Flora, Pompeii, (Museo Archeologico Napoli) Italy.
- Chauvet horses, Ardèche, France
- ECHO, © Linda Overzee
- MNEMOSYNE, © Linda Overzee
- Gentile da Fabiano, Romulus and Remus (the founding of Rome), Palazzo Trinci, Foligno, Italy
- Detail of my work in progress, © Linda Overzee