Adventure of a Fly

A series of paintings documenting the journey of a fly through modern art works by Nerio Beltrami (b. 1940)

The adventure of a fly pt. 1 (1993) by Nerio BeltramiMuseo d'Arte Moderna dell'Alto Mantovano

Adventure of a Fly part 1. (1993). This geometric abstract painting is reminiscent of the work of artists such as Bridget Riley, Victor Vasarely and Richard Anuszkiewicz.

This style of painting, known as Op-Art (a reference to optical illusions), was influenced by the work of Seurat and his experimentation with pure colour. Here we can see that there are lines of colour intersecting and creating new colours.

Looking at the painting in close up, it seems to be a repetitive pattern of lines in red, green and yellow.

But from a distance the lines seem to wave and twist.
It is similar to the curtains of plastic ribbons hung in doorways to keep flies out of the house.

A drip, of coffee?

The fly, examining the band of pale yellow.

The adventure of a fly pt. 2 (1993) by Nerio BeltramiMuseo d'Arte Moderna dell'Alto Mantovano

The Adventure of a fly part 2 (1993). This painting is like the photorealistic paintings of Chuck Close and Gerhard Richter.

The texture of the lips and teeth show great attention to detail but when looking this close, we can see the brush marks and the texture of the canvas.

The strands of golden hair in various shades of yellow give a sense of abundance and depth.

Does the woman in the painting have a blemish on her chin?

It is the fly. Examining the skin texture.
The fly seems smaller in this painting, perhaps it's because it's a recognisable subject, a human face, rather than an abstract painting.

The adventure of a fly p3 (1993) by Nerio BeltramiMuseo d'Arte Moderna dell'Alto Mantovano

The Adventure of a Fly part 3 (1993). This final painting in the triology is in the organic abstract style, and reminds us of the work of Kandinsky and Joan Miro.

The shapes and textures are reminiscent of organs of the body or leaves.

Looking closer, the textures are similar to printing with a patterned object onto the pink background. This technique enables the repetition of the similar textures using different colours, with ease.

As we move further back from the canvas, this area looks like plants from under the sea. There is movement in the different shapes, even though they are static.

Here the artist, Beltrami, has overpainted white amorphous shapes that appear to float over the top of the painting. They add depth as well as drawing the eye over the painting.

And here, almost in the centre of the painting, is the fly, examining the flesh coloured pink background. This fly looks real against the abstract painting. A trompe l'oeil.

As we get very close, we see that the painting of the fly is quite loose, using touches of paint to highlight the body and wings, giving them shape and depth.

The fly has examined three paintings and like us, discovered three art forms, all executed by one artist, Beltrami.

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