The women in Elisa Filomena's palimpsestuous portraits have a melancholic feeling about them. They are discreet—self-effacing even—but the painter gives them their due, whether they're powerful, free, or forgotten women.
They share a subtle, sad bitterness that suggests they've missed out on life, having spent too much time pleasing others and letting them have their way.
Still, these women seem dreamy and languorous with a tender nostalgia.
When Filomena is at work, the painting takes over. Art, she says, is an obligation she owes her predecessors who were unable to follow the same creative path. With repentance, she paints alla prima, without giving time for things to set. Her bister and sanguine watercolors and faded hues give her work rhythm while also showing the passage of time and the vagueness of memory.
Suggested in her backgrounds is a boulevard piece, a film noir, or an old Hitchcock movie. The intimate mixes with mystery. Colette, Daphné du Maurier, and Lauren Bacall meet and whisper the same old stories about dominance and chaotic destinies. They smile and seem to say things will get better. And we so wish that were true...
Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at Galerie Hyperbien, Montreuil, in 2023.
Elisa Filomena (born 1976 in Turin) is an Italian artist. Her paintings focus on the human figure and nature, both experienced as everlasting and tender forces in contrast and harmony with the transience of existence. The artworks are often made up of unnatural images revealing hidden dreams and stories. Filomena's work originates from photographs from the early 1900s that act as a starting point for tales that emerge during the creative process.