Roberto Pagliarulo
Artist
Next Solo Exhibition
I am delighted to be having a solo exhibition at Highgate Contemporary Art, from 4th June 2020.
Roberto Pagliarulo was born in 1979 in St. Albans to an Italian father and English mother.
He was educated at Haileybury, where he was an academic and art scholar and received the school's painting prize. He then went on to obtain a first class degree in History at Bristol University and an M.Phil in American Literature from Jesus College, Cambridge University.
Roberto’s first solo exhibition in Great Portland Street, London in 2009 brought him to the attention of his now mentor, Paul Richards, of The Slade Art School.
Roberto’s most recent work takes inspiration from Italian landscape and culture. There is often a mythical quality to his work, drawing the viewer into a captivating perceptual experience. As Paul Richards comments, “Roberto’s paintings are both beautiful and intriguing, and that mystery is at the heart of their reality.”
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Biography

About Roberto

Roberto Pagliarulo was born in 1979 in St. Albans to an Italian father and English mother. He was bought up in an artistic family, with his father being interested in art and photography and his mother being a professional actress. He was educated at Haileybury, where he was an academic and art scholar and received the College’s painting prize. He then went on to obtain a first class degree in History at Bristol University and an M. Phil in American Literature from Jesus College, Cambridge University. He then pursued a career in art and law, being represented by two art galleries in London and working for law firms, Slaughter and May and Norton Rose Fulbright.

 

In addition to a love of Roses as a subject matter, Roberto’s recent work is inspired by Italian culture, mythology and landscape and is both figurative and surreal, drawing parallels with the Metaphysical art of Georgio de Chirico. It is also full of colour. Unconventional imagery, unexpected compositions and unpredictable colour scheming depict his own particular reality. Roberto’s paintings are worlds within worlds, peopled by figures of antiquity where apples might be blue, trees are pink and windows open upon ancient ruins. These enigmatic cityscapes inspired by the light of the Mediterranean are inventive and dreamlike, drawing the viewer into a captivating perceptual experience.

Roberto’s paintings are both beautiful and intriguing, and that mystery is at the heart of their reality.

Paul Richards, artist and senior tutor at The Slade School of Art

Private commissions:

w: www.robertopagliarulo.com

m: 07841 961 996

e: [email protected]

Exhibitions

Exhibitions

Roberto regularly exhibits in London and his work is held in a number of collections.Forthcoming solo exhibition in Highgate Contemporary Art, London in June 2020. Further details to be announced.

Recent Exhibitions include:

  • NEXT: From 4th June 2020

    Solo exhibition – “Classical Allusion and Colour”, Highgate Contemporary Art Gallery, London.

  • 1

    22 March to 13 April 2017

    Solo exhibition – “Classical Allusion and Colour”, Highgate Contemporary Art Gallery, London.

  • 2

    7 December to 15 January 2017

    Highgate Contemporary Art, Group Christmas Show.

  • 3

    June 2016

    “Haileybury Festival of Arts”, solo exhibition and lecture by Roberto on “Composition, Colour and Meaning” at Haileybury.

  • 4

    December 2015 and January 2016

    December 2015 and January 2016 – Highgate Contemporary Art, Group Christmas Show.

  • 5

    6 July to 4 September 2015

    “Summer Farrago” Highgate Contemporary Art Gallery, Group Summer Exhibition, London.

  • 6

    17 June to 3 July 2015

    “Colour” an exhibition of the works of Roberto Pagliarulo, Highgate Contemporary Art Gallery, London.

  • 7

    October 2014

    The Affordable Art Fair, Lena Boyle Fine Art, Battersea Park, London.

  • 8

    January 2014

    The London Art Fair, Lena Boyle Fine Art, Business Design Centre, Islington, London.

  • 9

    October 2009

    Solo exhibition - FORZA, Great Portland Street, London

Portfolio

Portfolio

Testimonials

What They Say

Article by Ruth Millington

Exhibition | Roberto Pagliarulo: ‘An Amalfi Dream’

In his 3rd solo show at Highgate Contemporary Art in London, Roberto Pagliarulo will exhibit 20 Italian landscape oil paintings and ink drawings, inspired by the Amalfi Coast. An exceptional colourist, he pictures Italy as a romantic dream-place, populated by classical statues, mythical messengers and pink trees.

Roberto Pagliarulo’s Amalfi art has a magical, escapist feel

Italy has always been an important subject in Roberto Pagliarulo’s practice. With an Italian father, the depiction of the country allows the artist to explore his cultural heritage. Like artists Peter Doig and David Hockney, Pagliarulo paints the landscape with nostalgia, magic realism and as an expression of his identity. Over the last 5 years, he has been drawn especially to the Amalfi Coast:

“Amalfi is a particularly dramatic expression of Italy. Towering views around winding bends, cliffs, masses of sea, always there in the background, with lemons, flowers, tomatoes and trees in the foreground pushing your eyes into the blue and green of the seascapes”.

Pagliarulo has painted sweeping views from the Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, picturing Positano’s pebble beachfront, motorboats in the Mediterranean Sea, and the striking Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption with its Middle Eastern dome, decorated in dazzling yellow, white and black tiles.

Roberto Pagliarulo’s Italian landscape oil paintings are filled with unconventional colours

The Amalfi Coast is a place steeped in literary history, of which Pagliarulo – who studied American Literature at Cambridge University – is well aware. It has inspired writers including E. M. Forster, D. H. Lawrence, and John Steinbeck, who wrote:

“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone”.

Playing on the notion of myth and dreams, Pagliarulo’s cast of characters include fauns and satyrs, who herald the viewer.

‘Italian Triptych’. Classical busts, roses, fruits and other props fill these enchanting oil paintings The artist also creates a dream-like atmosphere through his enchanting and unconventional use of colour. In works such as ‘Ravello, Amalfi’ trees are painted purple, with complementary yellow foliage. In others, pathways appear in deep magenta. There’s a sublime simplicity to his flat blocks of Matisse-like colour, which cast a magical spell over Italy. As the artist Paul Richards comments:

“Roberto’s paintings are both beautiful and intriguing, and that mystery is at the heart of their reality”.

Pagliarulo has painted Positano’s church, with its intricately tiled dome

Pagliarulo, whose mother is an actress, also frames each scene from cinematic vantage points. There is a film-like quality to the wide views of works such as ‘Amalfi Coast, view from Positano’. In other paintings, like ‘Italian Triptych’, he playfully frames a painting within a painting. Throughout his work, Pagliarulo foregrounds symbolic props – apples, roses and classical busts – which celebrate antiquity.

Whilst honouring Italy’s mythical history, Roberto Pagliarulo pushes past tradition with his distinctly calligraphic style of painting. With his Italian landscape oil paintings, the artist leaves you dreaming of an escape to Amalfi.

Roberto Pagliarulo: An Amalfi Dream runs from 5th June – 27th June, 2020 at Highgate Contemporary Art

Prices for Roberto Pagliarulo’s Italian landscape oil paintings start at £1,000.

You can read my interview with Roberto here.

Ruth x

Article by Ruth Millington

Artist in focus | Roberto Pagliarulo: classical allusion & colour

Roberto Pagliarulo’s paintings – featured in a solo show from 22 March to 13 April at Highgate Contemporary Art Gallery in London – balance allusion to ancient Italy with a pure celebration of form, beauty and colour. There is a real confidence to his solid blocks of flat, complementary colours; Tyrian purple is juxtaposed with burnt orange, Persian blue with marigold yellow, and each image is infused with a Mediterranean light. He accentuates the elegance of everyday objects, such as a basket of apples, with his calligraphic style and rhythmic outlines.

At the same time, there is a sense that every object has been included for its symbolic evocation of Rome’s rich history. Born to an Italian father, Pagliarulo’s inclusion of classical busts, sculptures and mythologised figures, all playfully posed, point towards antiquity. Yet, these paintings escape self-consciousness, which pervades much contemporary art. Neither are these nostalgic images; instead Pagliarulo renews the tradition of classical landscape and still life painting with vitality and charm. In this exclusive interview he speaks about his Italian roots, use of colour and ‘paintings within paintings’.

Your paintings are filled with a Mediterranean light – is this an expression of your Italian identity? Do you find/paint your subjects in Italy?

I was born and raised in England but my father is Italian (and my mother is English), so Italy and the idea of Italy is part of my identity. My love of Italian scenes, be they coastal views of the Amalfi or the ruins of ancient Italy that you can find in Rome today, must at least be a part of that identity. Currently, I do find a lot of my subjects in Italy or in its past and when travelling have my sketch pad or paints with me.

The garden at Villa Cimbrone, Ravello (or in search of truth and beauty) (2017) oil on canvas

‘The gardens of Villa Cimbrone, Ravello’ (2017), oil on canvas, 63 x 53 cm

There is also a surreal quality to your work; where do the ideas for your playful compositions come from?

I suppose it is hard to say where one’s ideas come from; how does anyone really know? They do in large part just come naturally. However my ideas are a product of what I am interested in and I do enjoy playfulness in my paintings. So, for example, my mother is an actress and since an early age I have been interested in theatre. Shakespeare and Pirandello often used plays within plays in their works and in some of my paintings for example, the large still lives, I place paintings within paintings as a playful concept.

I love your rich use of colour, combined with a decorative feel, which reminds me of Matisse’s Fauvist works. Do you believe in art for art’s sake? Do you use your painting as a form of escapism?

I remember reading Gerhard Richter saying that although it sounds absurd, he believed art has the power to change the world we live in. I’ve always loved that expression. Nietzsche too said, creation is alleviation from life’s suffering. So yes I do believe in art for art’s sake and that it can be a form of escapism. More simply for me, however, my painting is about joy and the colour of life and of beauty.

At the same time, there is a sense that every object has been included for its symbolic evocation of Rome’s rich history. Born to an Italian father, Pagliarulo’s inclusion of classical busts, sculptures and mythologised figures, all playfully posed, point towards antiquity. Yet, these paintings escape self-consciousness, which pervades much contemporary art. Neither are these nostalgic images; instead Pagliarulo renews the tradition of classical landscape and still life painting with vitality and charm. In this exclusive interview he speaks about his Italian roots, use of colour and ‘paintings within paintings’.

Your paintings are filled with a Mediterranean light – is this an expression of your Italian identity? Do you find/paint your subjects in Italy?

I was born and raised in England but my father is Italian (and my mother is English), so Italy and the idea of Italy is part of my identity. My love of Italian scenes, be they coastal views of the Amalfi or the ruins of ancient Italy that you can find in Rome today, must at least be a part of that identity. Currently, I do find a lot of my subjects in Italy or in its past and when travelling have my sketch pad or paints with me.

Is the scale of your works important?

I paint in all different shapes and sizes from the very small to very large scale, such as my triptych which is a number of metres long. I do get a great sense of satisfaction when I step back and look at bigger pictures and find my eye wondering in all different directions.

In your recent paintings I can see your fascination with roses – is there a particular significance or symbolism accorded to this?

I’ve simply always been drawn to their elegance and beauty.

I know the artist and Slade School of Fine Art tutor Paul Richards is a mentor to you. Given you lack of formal art training, did he teach you to paint in the way that you do?

I’ve always drawn and painted since a small child and was an art scholar at Haileybury College, where I won the College’s art prize for my A level work. Paul came to my first solo exhibition in London in 2009 where I first met him. It was marvellous for me that a senior tutor at the Slade School of Art was excited about my work. He helped me in two respects; firstly, I took his encouragement as an endorsement of how I was painting and secondly, he also gave me a few technical tips which I’ve kept in my mental tool-kit.

 

Roberto giving a lecture at Haileybury Festival of Arts

Does your academic background – as a historian with a doctoral degree in literature – influence your practice?

One’s art is an expression of oneself. My keen interest in history and literature have brought a richer and deeper meaning to some of my paintings. You’ll see some explicit reference to antiquity and ancient history in my still lives.

 

You can view Roberto Pagliarulo’s works at Highgate Contemporary Art Gallery, London from 22 March to 13 April. 

Roberto regularly exhibits in London and his work is held in a number of collections. Recent London exhibitions include: June 2016, Haileybury Festival of Arts, exhibition and lecture by Roberto on “Colour, Composition and Meaning”, December 2015 & January 2016, Group Show, Highgate Contemporary Art Gallery; 6 July–4 September 2015, Summer Farrago, Highgate Contemporary Art Gallery, Group Summer Exhibition; 17 June–3 July 2015 Colour: an exhibition of the works of Roberto Pagliarulo, Highgate Contemporary Art Gallery; October 2014, The Affordable Art Fair, Lena Boyle Fine Art, Battersea Park; January 2014 The London Art Fair, Lena Boyle Fine Art, Business Design Centre, Islington.

Fun Facts

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EXHIBITIONS

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Solo Exhibitions

Previous Solo Exhibition

Classical allusion and colour | PDF