Italian portrait artist Gianni Strino always tries to tell a story in each of his paintings. He focuses on the emotion that speaks through the person’s face and soul, as well as their relationship with the outside world, such as nature or animals. Throughout February, Lotton Gallery in Chicago will present his newest paintings of women and children.
Painting a child, he says, is a different experience than painting an adult because of how light hits the subject and how they express the world around them. Children seem to have a freshness and wonderment “that is impossible to find in the face of an adult,” Strino explains, while adding that he tries to find moments of his own childhood in each of those paintings.
Among Strino’s latest are works that pair children with animals and women with flowers and butterflies, allowing a soft yet familiar story to be told. Lotton Gallery director Christina Franzoso explains, “Story tales, fables and mythology are threaded through Gianni Strino’s most recent collection of paintings, such as Alice in Wonderland in A Little Birdie and Elen of the Ways in Flowers for Elen. [It brings] an added mystique to Strino’s already fascinating works.”
Describing A Little Birdie, Strino says, it is about “a child amazed by the beauty of nature. Being able to be like this forever.” For his other work, Flowers for Elen, he says, “There is a subtle, silent relationship between the bouquet of the flowers and the face of the girl. They are practically the same thing made from the same colors: white, pink of cheeks and yellow.”
Other works in the show include A Special Love, which shows the love a child has for their pet, and The Scent of May Flowers, where a woman is leaning down to smell the roses. In the latter piece, Strino says, “I tried to paint what you can’t see, a breath. In breathing the scent of a flower there’s all the sensuality of nature that wakes up. It is May.”