Augusta Maria Bariona

augusta maria Bariona

Location: Italy

Augusta Mariateresa Bariona was born in Milan. Her family passed on to her their love for art: her mother is a sculptress; her uncle was a major collector of contemporary art. After her studies in philosophy, communication and marketing (IED) and some works in the advertising industry, an adventurous phase of her life began between Atlantic crossings and stays in the Tuscan countryside, where painting begins to take more and more space.
In 1991 a car accident marks an important turning point for her: after tacking psychoanalysis, she begins a systematic journey of spiritual quest consisting of several stages among which the most important are anthroposophy and meditation. Meditation as transformation: seeing things as they are. From that moment on her life takes the final bend of the path of soul searching, mixing various professional experiences including youth theatre.
The painting of that period consists of watercolour, her first works of tissue paper, food colours, and large size temperas. Just from the second half of the 90s she began her first tissue paper collages. Among several other activities she performed in that period, there is also the playful making of small booklets she achieved with her friend Alberto Casiraghi, published by Pulcinoelefante.
Continuing with collages, she perfected the use of overlapping paper. In 2002, in order to learn other techniques she attends the Academy of St. Luke in Milan with an emphasis on anthroposophy. She begins a series of oil paintings inspired by Death, Astrology, Alchemy and planets, all themes related to her deep passion for astrology, which will also become a real job for a certain period.
In 2007 she creates a video installation entitled “La Divina Madre” (“The Divine Mother”), a symbolic representation of the alchemical transformation, where she burns most of her remaining works. The following year she started again with the White. Since 2010, she resumed the colour and the use of tissue paper, exploring new paths, always closely linked to her personal research.
Incidentally, she is the co-author of “Lavoroscopo”, a Galactic Guide to Business Astrology, published by Guerini, Milan, in 2008. “Ipotesi Arruffate”, a book of poems published in 2010 with “”Il mio libro”by Feltrinelli.
In 2012 she finished with Francesco Silvano Contiero the monumental mural work “Pioggia di Stelle”, located in Rosasco:
2013 a solo exhibithion in Casale Monferrato (Alessandria) Italy “ Shadows of thought” curated by M° Giovanna Barbero.
She lives in Rosasco, in the countryside of Pavia, where she has her studio, while devoting herself to her other passions, namely: photography, roses, cats and poetry.


Paper 2014

When a column of black, dense smoke rose, the sky grew dark, sad, and from the burning paintings incinerated shreds started blowing high swaying as light as butterflies, souls of the painting that was being dispersed in the universe, while the sacred fire was purifying the thoughts and works of a material time that had by then reached its epilogue. Lo! This is the alchemic accomplishment of a development that has placed in the rite the confirmation of transformation, where the materials have led the thought to physicality. Now it is turned back to pure and incorporeal energy, thanks to sacrifice. The touching video “La Divina Madre” (“The Divine Mother”) has remained to bear witness to the last journey of these pictorial creatures; a trip made on a car that led them to the open countryside, in contact with uncontaminated nature and its almost absolute silence, broken only by a few calls, or cries, of animals happening to be there by chance, but above all by the crackling of voracious flames, turning into the moaning of the sacrificial victim.
And then, like the Phoenix, the artistic soul of Augusta Bariona rises from the ashes of a past already concluded and, renewed in a more conscious freedom and pure love for the world, embarks on a new journey. Towards a new alchemy, with the usual energy that drives her artistic world and comes from the colour, that is the perfect light in which resides the Philosopher's Stone.
With the usual energy, definitely, but with a new joy, exuberant, enthusiastic and eager to do, which, rather than running out with work, remains unfulfilled and increasingly reaching out to other experiences, other expectations, other objectives and other curiosities. It is the artistic authenticity, that dwells in Augusta Bariona’s soul and mind, the spur of her own creativity and her unconditional love, which is projected and immersed in the magical mystery of colours in all their multiple facets: physical, mathematical, optic, lyrical, emotional, psychological, symbolic and much more.
Her themes, topics and inspiration spring out of a deep feeling in her interaction with the surrounding world, nature and humanity, filtered by her observation skills, emotions, reflections, which are transformed into light-colour, i.e. into poetry. Therefore, even the spark that is thrown off because of the meeting of two thoughts captures almost without astonishment, as it looks natural, as, for example, when Bariona translated some into chromatic images some poems by the 16th-century poetess native of Casale, Eleonora Falletta. The time span elapsed between these two women, so deeply sensitive, does not affect the harmony of souls on a shared territory and the female affinity, while the painting enhances the characters of words, adding nobility, elegance, refinement and even illuminating the dark corners of an ancient language, maybe a little bit more difficult than the current one. Now the thought, spurred by the word, draws a certain conventional path of recognition of the content; on the other hand, the colours allow greater freedom of interpretation to which add joy and enthusiasm. So thought, like colour, discovers ever-new expressive opportunities and new communication skills: shades, optical and metaphorical, able to penetrate and investigate the proposed message down to the innermost depths. In this perspective, the titles of works, being made of words, graphemes, could be considered superfluous, were it not for the fact that, being characterized by recurring nouns such as light, space, colour names, they offer an interpretation key to the introduction into the work, leaving, however, in the next step, the mystery to discover. Sometimes they contain references to incorporeal, abstract, fantastic elements, to female voices, to dawn, to sirens, and precisely to poetry, while other times they contain perhaps ironic expressions to indicate that in a serious reality, in a work of art, a certain “nuance” of thought reveals something else very subjective and personal that can also raise a smile.
Augusta Bariona’s art making goes beyond any pigeonholing and rejects any definition, including those that might appear appropriate, such as abstract or informal. Form and non-form, i.e. images, are generated by combinations of colours, by unions of coloured areas, by overlapping rather than by strokes, which delimit spaces that complement each other; they determine the structure of the work, far from being amorphous, its architecture, its different perspectives, solids and voids, as well as the rhythmic and thermal diversification. They are forms other than the usual physical seeing, which is obtained with smooth curves and non-Euclidean geometries that capture and reflect certain details of natural creatures viewed under a microscope, such as cells that make up a larger body that, therefore, escapes the overall vision. Or, conversely, a bird's eye view of a large area of nature that offers unusual spectacles, in a sort of observation of the universe from the space where details are lost, but an unlimited field of vision is incorporated and everything appears to the eye in a composition of colour spots, a chromatic bouquet.
That's how you can explain the beauty of Augusta Bariona’s works and their aesthetic value, linked to the properties of light and colours in their inseparable union.
Colour is our own life, a statement on which we could make endless reflections, both as regards the physical mechanics and the psychological reactions and, consequently, the determination of a symbolism connected to the feelings aroused by each colour. Science and emotion always find a meeting point in the brain, i.e. in thought, where also dwells the declination privileged by Augusta Bariona, namely an aesthetic research, a voice that establishes agreements even between conflicting or antithetical opinions and clears the border between Newton’s theories and Goethe’s. Colours become one with thought, which has the ability to assign to each of them, in different intensities and shades, a well-defined place and space, where they acquire a language, an exact expression and represent its idea.
For each artist, the employed technique too participates in the definition of the language, and the extremely personal one adopted by Augusta Bariona is wrapped by the magic that runs through the development of the project, whose nature has its origins in a kind of joyful play veiled in mystery. Everything originates from the meticulous search for the essence of things. The artist affixes and pastes on the support sheets of coloured tissue paper of different sizes and shapes next to each other or even overlapping them in multiple layers; then she tears them away, thereby forcing them to leave in the established place their marks, their souls, actually their life-giving breath that, deprived of the physical appearance corruptible by time and events, yearns for its eternity.
It is implied that Augusta Bariona is very familiar with the properties of colours, their behaviours and the waves and frequencies of each depending on their position in the spectrum. These are the features that allow creating vivid, lively and perspective images, while being completely built in the foreground and without boundaries of signs, real and virtual at the same time, real and increased by optical effects. The masterly compositions stimulate the observer’s brain and emotions, and the images are further enriched, perceive shapes and stories, rhythms and pauses, warmth and coldness, joy and drama, time and immensity, space and infinity, surfaces and depths, solids and transparencies and so on. And since every body, natural or created by human hands, reacts in its own way to the stimuli of light to place itself at the sight of the colour it does not absorb from the spectrum, it is clear that in Augusta Bariona’s works there are more bodies that constitute the whole, the uniqueness of the composite individual she has created. It identifies its own characteristics, dimensions, degree of attraction, movement, reliefs and hollows, through skilful combinations that can trick the nerve cells feeding, however, the imagination, the emotion, the assured joy in the immersion into colours, whatever the spark that generated it and was able to build a new world, welcoming and reassuring.

Giovanna Barbero