Paolo Colombo | To Journey Through the Veil of Time

On View Now through May 11 at Baert Gallery

Written by

Camryn Spratt

Photographed by

No items found.

Styled by

No items found.
No items found.
Paolo Colombo Lavender, 2023 Detail. Courtesy of Baert Gallery and the artist. Photo by Paul Salveson.

Like lovers in the night, creatures of the Earth, and illustrious empires, all that is once heightened in palpable potency will go on to experience inevitable decline. What happens After Gold? In his third exhibition with Baert Gallery, only Paolo Colombo knows. Mythological figurations, decorative designs and pastoral vignettes emerge as fragments of history, part-excavated, inviting the viewer to journey through the veil of time. Peering at us through vibrant watercolor, as proximate to us as the pigment with which our present world is textured, are portraits of love, of Venus, stitched in glorious gallimaufry. Waving at us, behind the Delphic cloud of memory, are faces of civilizations come and gone– drifting through the misty currents of time; perhaps to catch a glimpse of us, in the same way we do them.

Paolo Colombo Ochre and Gold, 2024 Watercolor on Arches paper Paper: 44 1/8 x 29 1/2 in (112 x 75 cm) Framed: 48 7/8 x 34 1/4 in (124 x 87 cm). Courtesy of Baert Gallery and the artist. Photo by Paul Salveson.

As an Italian who has spent much of his life in Athens, the artist’s attachment to motifs of ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine culture expresses itself in the ability to rehabilitate time. Amidst a tableau of dots and lines that mimic mosaic tesserae, the land is ours once again- the land of ancient past and present. As Colombo collapses the boundaries between these worlds, he emerges as a timeless translator, seemingly living in both at once.

Installation view of the exhibition Paolo Colombo at Baert Gallery. Courtesy of Baert Gallery and the artist. Photo by Paul Salveson.

In an economy of means, Colombo works solitarily, mostly from memory and with minimal materials. The artist's intimate lyrical execution demands proximity, to be paid the same attention one would give when reading a book. Colombo aligns himself with the poet Giorgos Serefis’ yearnings for chasteness as articulated in his poem ‘An Old Man on the River Bank’ (1942): I want nothing more than to simply speak, to be granted that grace.

Because we’ve loaded even our song with so much music that it’s slowly sinking and we’ve decorated our art so much that its features have been eaten away by gold and it’s time to say our few words because tomorrow our soul sets sail.

Paolo Colombo Untitled Magenta, 2023 Watercolor on paper Paper: 16 1/8 x 11 3/4 in (41 x 30 cm) Framed: 19 1/8 x 15 in (48.5 x 38 cm). Courtesy of Baert Gallery and the artist. Photo by Paul Salveson.

Such sentiments even extend to the titles of his works Wisteria, Antwerp Blue, Pyrrol Orange and Quinacridone Gold, no more than a simple indication to the primary color used for the canvas. Like Gabbiani, Colombo’s use of paper, often seamed together and stitched in these soft blues, blushing pinks and creamy whites evokes an essential humility, a historical resonance that will continue to bear the weight of expression across cultures and epochs.

Paolo Colombo is on view now at Baert Gallery through May 11.

No items found.
No items found.
Flaunt Magazine, Art, Paolo Colombo, Baert Gallery, Camryn Spratt