OTTONELLO, OWNER OF THE SECRETS OF WATERCOLOR
CESAR MAGRINI - El Cronista Comercial -
Buenos Aires, Argentina
A LATINAMERICAN IMAGE
ALDO GALLI "LA NACIÓN" Buenos Aires, Argentina
FRESH, MOVING SHOW AT SHORT
Margo Ersnt - Art critc - Juror - Stockton record - California,
MARCELA OTTONELLO, OWNER OF THE SECRETS OF WATERCOLOR.
I must speak about watercolor and its technique, I must mention
the difficulty of its aplication. For various reasons I shall not
insist upon them, net they are in extreme complex and varied. It
is from this point, that after having seen the paintings of Marcela
Ottonello, that e have been moved frankley and openly to the upmost
admiration. They are perfect, just perfect. There is no need to
go into flattering adjetives, but you must be their witness to understand
to which extent this perfection ir reached, since there is a constant
element in the works of this talented Artista of difficult domain:
one of visual dymanics-human beings who go through a whirling metamorphosis-reminds
us on one hand, the classic experimentations of Marcel Duchamp (what
coincidence, they woth havethe same first name) which Marcela Ottonello
extends to its farthest consequences, but on the other hand renews
with a contemporary flavor and provokes in the viewer a sense of
hallucination. Design, color - managed with impeccable sense of
its aplication, atmosphere, everything comes together in this very
uplifting, creator to end up in the most elevated and inviogorating
of results: vital work, full of rewards and I shall repeat myself,
Cronista Comercial" - Buenos Aires, Argentina
A LATINAMERICAN IMAGE
Marcela Ottonello was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina en 1958. She
had lived many years in the United States. It is probabley from
here that she percevies her particular image.
Her watercolor, well resolved in every case are geared to create
an image whose main theme is man himself.
A halo of mystery surrounds these amonymous figures, whose head
we must imagine undermeath the enormous hats that cover them, but
this enigma serves us to define a style which even though, incorporates
form the deformation of expressionism to the movement of futurism
or the enigmatic ambiguities of superrealism, it never loses its
"LA NACION" - Buenos Aires, Argentina
MOVING SHOW AT SHORT
is remarkable that 24 paintings all built around faceless, gaucho-hatted,
white-knuckled cowboys can be as fresh and different and as moving
as Marcela Ottonello´s watercolors, at the alan Short Gallery
through Sept. 28
The "cowboys" of "The Mysterious World of South America"
are actually a composite of Western cowpuncher and Argentine gaucho
and reflect the double heritage of the artist.
Ottonello was born in Argentina, came as a child to Stockton (where
her parents still reside), studied art at Franklin High School,
then returned to Buenos Aires, where she lives with her husband
and their daughter.
Except that their shirts vary in color from rust-brown to shades
of greengray. Ottonello´s men are identically clothed in shapeless
jerseys and Western jeans and boots. All wear flat-topped, wide-brimmed
tan or white hats tilted to cover their faces entirely. Their hands
show only long, white fingers and thumbs, held unnaturally stiff
The paintings are grouped by themes. In the downstairs west gallery
are saloon scenes. Against background patterns of floors, louvred
swinging doors, tables and bar, the faceless men alone and in groups,
consort with empty bentwood chairs. There is a pervading feeling
of confrontation, frustration and despair.
In the east gallery, the men are outdoors. Although colors are brighter,
despair seems deeper. On the stairway landing the theme unique in
the show, is motion: a man spins off a racing subway train. Tension
explodes into stop-motion particles, much like Marcel Duchamp´s
historic cubist analysis of movement in "Nude Descending a
Staircase". There is tremendous motion in the rush of the train,
the spin ofthe body, the agitated pumping of the white-gloved hands.
Upstairs are more men in shabby outdoor settings. Here there is
more a feeling of environment, of social statement. A man lies on
a park bench; groups of men read graffiti or newspapers; tightly-grouped
men almost in formation, are held back by the flowing scarf of their
Again one encounters depression, despair.
Ottonello´s subject matter is highly restricted and consistent;
heer figures have no faces, no expressions.
Certain artistic devices help the artist to transmit her messages
of conflict and desplair:
Although Ottonello´s symbolism is pervasive and powerful,
it is difficult to perceive the meanings behind images like the
cowboy/gaucho men, the hats that cover their faces, the shapeless
shirts and jeans that wrinkle down to envolve into boots, the polished
floors even in shabby outdoor settings, the white fingers that grip
tables and chairs or try shut off a piano´s sound
In spite of thematic suspicions of imbalance disorder and disarry,
every composition is beautifully balanced. Like opposing forces,
chairs are balanced by men, hats by floortiles, wonderful circles
and curves by rigidy straight lines.
Reflection adds illusion to mystery. Even a single figure, like
the slouched man in "Resting the Mind in a Cloudy Sky",
has an adversary, in this case one in perfect balance: his own reflection
in the polished tabletop. In "The Meeting" one man confronts
a group doubled in size by reflections.
Perpesctive is probably the most powerful of Ottonello´s tricks.
Sometimes perspective is exaggerated, as in the floorboards, which
shoot dramatically back although the sizes of figures, hats, etc.
remain the same. Sometimes perspective is reversed. The group of
hardwood floor that recedes, according to the rules of perspective,
dramatically back; but the men´s shadows extend forward, opposing
the source of light and diminshing towards the viewer´s eyes
until, in fact, they disappear. This defiance of natural law seems
to extend a message: do these men, then, in society´s eye,
amount to nothing?.
Art critc - Juror - Stockton record - California, USA