I receive from Alkmaar, Holland, a letter singularly in a mixture of Spanish and Italian to which we should add the Dutch linguistic contamination that the author is assimilating.
In this peculiar letter is contained the biography of Francisco Merello, painter, globetrotter a little by vocation and a little out of necessity, who has found in beautiful and civilized Holland his country of residence, without forgetting Italy, his second homeland.
Why do I mention these seemingly irrelevant details? Especially because I met Merello through a Florentine writer, an authentic writer, eccentric, marginal for different reasons, but proudly convinced of being at the very center of the Milky Way. buñueliana “memory. His name was Piero Santi, a discoverer of talents in all areas, both literary, where he discovered at first sight the poet or the author in power, as pictorial where he also sniffed talent early. Serve this writing to pay tribute to him, since the current works that Merello sends me confirm widely the early premonition of Piero.
What do I see in these images? On the one hand, the enlargement of the figurative repertoire of Merello, on the other, a chromatic ascent, a purity in the images, as well as rhythms and symptomatic compositional ideas. These are precise signals: the emergence of an articulated projection, already directed to the composition, to the narrative, and to the fugitive view, or to the slow and invisible addition of forms, of elements dialectically opposed or amalgamated in a type of slowed-down narration. Yesterday’s Merello, from just yesterday, which I met and presented critically, is now far away. This leads me to an unexpected and new critical effort full of curiosity and questions.
What has caused this change, this urgent jump of quality? To say simply that it has reached maturity, is to say almost nothing. The artist who writes to me that he has returned to a new adhesion to the facts of reality, to use filters to bring it closer and absorb it, that is to stay at a prudent distance , depending on the process itself. He informs me that he consciously resorts to photography, to graphic techniques and even to the slow and precise intaglio technique, but feeling free in the choice that is only subject to maintaining the desired distance of the chosen model. Freedom, a magic word for Merello, one of the keys to accessing his virtual universe, to his formal world that also denotes the influence of the most sophisticated cirbenetics technologies. It will be said that, at times, Merello resorts to American Pop Art, for example, to “George & Gilbert”, or to examples of the reality or the phantasmagoric transposition of this, of surrealistic roots, or to the contamination of “means” of perception different as photography, TV, design, painting or collage amalgamated in an original way.
What counts and matters is this unprecedented enrichment, the new expression of this renewed iconographic, pictorial, compositional and formal repertoire.
This is fulfilled through an almost ritual binding process. Particularly I see her when examining a nude of agasian woman of 1994. It is confirmed in a strong Cartesian composition that is the “Variation in 4 spaces” of 1993, being another significant work “Hotel Madrid” of 1988 that evokes a certain “New Yorker graffiti underground ” This is how I am attracted by this unexpected constancy in his work, but what does this fidelity produce? It can be explained, when at the beginning of the century, Walter Crane, in his “Manual of design” the most widespread in contemporary Europe, in the variety of methods suggested in the analytically presented procedures, speaks to us of a positivist culture, for which formulas, figurative models and their psychological and visual acquisition, are things of ordinary certainty, not to say obvious or natural.
Sir Ernst Gombrich with commendable commitment, has spread an encyclopedic science either in “Art and illusion”, to use a famous title as well as in the famous essay “The sense of order”. It is enough then to refer to it to avoid falling into what many critics fall when they are faced with compositive, iconographic and coloristically composite works already apparently simple, but that contain an obvious complexity. Since extreme simplicity is the result of thoughtful research , of a deeper aspiration than at the beginning may not be evident. Do not misunderstand however. If I thought about the hidden messages that hide behind this simple and naked appearance, I would have to resort repeatedly to the contribution offered by Gombrich and others.
There is nothing worse than the ivative superficiality of analysis, to say unforgivably little. Personally I think that there is nothing cryptic in Merello’s recent painting. That manifest and profound complexity comes in fact outlining