At times, words are insufficient to translate the emotions that certain objects are able to transmit through sheer matter. Rita Ettore's woven paintings ("dipinti tessuti," to borrow an apt definition not mine) are created with an ancient expertise, but in an absolutely contemporary key. They give us occasion to retrace the history of artistic technique from a perspective which goes beyond painting to embrace every manifestation of visual art: from tapestry to canvas, from fabric dyed with plants to inlays.

On close examination of these original works, one is amazed at the perfection of this meticulous technique which foregoes no detail in defining profiles, volumes, forms, and at the same time, is not merely a display of virtuoso execution. Striking the eyes and minds of the incredulous observers, Rita's creations communicate intense emotions and stimulate curiosity. Some will feel a strong urge to corroborate their experience by touching these works of art.

Rita Ettore does not renounce the figurative, but rather gives strength to the subjects which she selects. She pairs evocative titles, often open to multiple interpretations, seemingly with the intent of allowing the observer, following his or her own perceptions, to attribute the appropriate meaning to each composition.
These are stolen moments, suspended stories like unseen film frames, in which we are able to grasp a before and intuit an after, in a sequence of emotions guided but not imposed by the artist, that – for a few instants – alight on the naked canvas. 
In this way, works such as "Cappelli in Affascinazione" (Bewitched Hats), "Ingenua imprudenza" (The Imprudent Ingenue), "Appesi al filo... che li cuce" (Hanging by a Thread.. that Stitches), "Sole" (Sun - Alone, the two meanings of Sole), "Finalmente... per un po'" (Finally... for a while), pass before the eyes, silent frames of lives in flux, caught on canvas by a needle that paints. 

The composition, the choice of perspectives, the coign of vantage, are never banal and rarely do they follow the customary principles of symmetry. Often the scene is foreshortened, or seen from above, leaving ample latitude for the background, necessarily isolating and emphasizing significant details, whereas others are neglected, merely suggested and not revealed. And still, it is easy to imagine the expressions, attitudes, and faces of mute characters which are rarely shown. 

It does not seem simple to associate this genre of art with a precedent in technical or stylistic terms. If anything, the atmospheres evoked by Rita Ettore may recall the aesthetics of magical realism or of early surrealism, where, in an oneiric key, common and recognizable objects are de-contextualized and recomposed in metaphysical terms according to dynamics not always interpretable from a solely rational point of view. At the same time, in the effective way these images communicate, one finds similarities with the most refined examples of creative graphic advertising, and with ironic American postwar illustrations.

The drawing, which represents the first indispensable creative moment in the definition of the subjects, is in some measure annulled through the application of single fragments of different fabrics. In a discerning selection, made according to the matter that they are meant to represent, these fragments are stitched closely on the raw canvas. The seams that are deliberately left visible by the artist convey strong graphic signs which are essential in defining volume. Rarely does Rita use a paintbrush to strengthen shadows and even then only with fleeting and light brushstrokes, whereas the strategic combination of fabrics with  diverse textures generates conscious plays of light and shadow, entrusting the natural laws of refraction to create the sought after depth and effect of three-dimensionality. Thus, as if by enchantment, on just the background surface, the images gain body, depth, volume, and life, and arranged on the canvas according to strict rules of perspective, conjure the third dimension.

Certainly, Rita Ettore's experience as a goldsmith, her in-depth knowledge of techniques of design and of the creation of small precious objects help explain the extreme accuracy in the execution of every phase in her work, from concept to completion. Similarly, her love for textiles and fabric underpins her ability to choose and match fragments of material, though technical skill cannot explain how her art involves and evokes the Soul.

Valentina White,
January 2006

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