Mary Cinque: St. Moritz, A Winter’s Tale
Mary Cinque at Galerie Palü brims with elation. Her visions scintillate on the walls, alive with generosity and spirit. The drawings want to take you everywhere – up with the snow, through the dusk Alps, into space where everything glints in the frozen silence, into the privacy of the conversations where the eye quivers in the see-through world of her oil pastels. Each dizzying adventure begins with an elementary form. A dot is a start. It can be a mouth or an eye or a noiseless snowflake. Two more and a whole landscape is implied. The dot turns into a line, which becomes a drape, a body, the patio for intimate conversations or the tranquil surface of the lake.
Born in Italy, Mary Cinque has spent her childhood among Italy and Ethiopia. Her gaze/artistic skills are deeply rooted in the Amalfi Coast and the city of Milan. Her extensive travels throughout the United States and Europe determined her artistic vision. The vision she explicits in her drawings is inherited from her grandfather, who was a photographer and she believes photographs are means to express feelings and a way to celebrate a daily but also hidden esthetics. Growing up with art in the family, she seems to have inherited the best traits of it, while she develops her practice in a world of colour and pictures.
The artworks on display at the Galerie Palü, are the result of the time the artist spent in Pontresina in the Engadine, where her fascination for the strong contrasts of white and blue of the mountains is translated in the background of some of the production. Some of the sketches and drawings she created for this show depict the people gathering in this area during the three days of the prestigious Snow Polo St. Moritz, where she was intrigued but the roundup of people and the ferment in the atmosphere. As she walks observing the happenings around her, Mary Cinque draws our attention to some of the people attending the event, while strolling around, sippin Perrier-Jouët in a crisp winter day. The landscape depicted is filled with brilliantly colored forest, light blue hinted buildings, and sky and populated by figures both at rest and in motion. As with the earlier work of the artist, color is responsive only to emotional expression and the formal needs of the paper, not the realities of nature. Alongside Mary Cinque’s artworks we find within the gallery space the works of Lukas R. Vogel, one of the most important and productive contemporary painters in the region. Founder of the Galerie Palü, Vogel’s primary attention was to the sublime landscapes of the Engadine. The two artists works, on display here, in an intergenerational dialogue, are presented respecting each other vision and reinforcing once again the intangible synergy between man and nature.
As we move indoors, the Carlton Hotel seems to be the perfect place to rouse Mary Cinque’s eyes and imagination.The Carlton Hotel has a long and colourful history; it opened its doors in 1913 for the first time. According to legend the property was originally planned to be the summer residence for the czar Nicolaj II., grandson of the czar Alexander II. During the World Wars, there has been a constant change of ownership until only in recent times the Carlton finally found a new owner, who not only had the courage but also showed its unique and enduring spirit. In some of her drawings, the artist evokes balconies overlooking the sun-drenched Engadine, relaxed guests, images of luxury, tranquillity, voluptuousness. She drives us into the representation of a new dimension; the location on the sun-soaked plateau above the lake of St. Moritz hosts some interesting characters the artist is fascinated by; like the two polo players sitting by a window, resting while sipping a drink. In the two versions the artist examines the body language of the two men sitting against heavy curtains, where she has intentionally flattened their image but has given us some perspective through the window view, providing depth through an aerial perspective evidenced by a mountainous landscape and orange sky.
What interests the artist most is not the still life nor the landscape either. It is the human figure. This is what makes it possible for her to best express the almost religious feeling which she seems to have about life. In the Kulm Hotel, built in 1905, a synthesis of Art Nouveau and Swiss style, she picks on the life of a young lady, in the background of the Lord Norman Foster wooden architecture . Other iconic places she has spent time at are the Sunny Bar and the Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. The female figures are colorful, tame and serine, as the woman who is reading while outside there is an incredible storm blowing. The Oil pastel, technique that only recently she fully embraced, seems to combine perfectly the richness of some interiors, the fancy people outfits, the magnificence of the drapes and the garments’s textiles. In Mary Cinque work, there is a retinal sensation that disrupt the tranquillity of surface and form. Objects are only differentiated by the degree of luminosity allotted to them. Everything is treated in the same way. There is a sort of tactile animation, comparable to a vibrato of the voice, a more expressive, more direct harmony, a harmony whose simplicity and sincerity is enabling her to achieve calmer surfaces. In her creations she is seeking the quality of the drawing through a harmony between the not flat expanses of colour. There is a feeling throughout her production as a dream of an art of balance, purity, tranquillity, devoid of disturbing or disquieting subject-matter which will be for everyone a balm, a soothing influence on the mind, something akin to a good armchair which provides relief from bodily fatigue. These are the ideas of the time spent in this region: construction through coloured surfaces, experimenting with the intensity of colour, the subject matter being important, reaction against the diffusion of hues into the light. The light is not removed but is expressed through the harmony of brightly-coloured surfaces.