Gouache on paper
70 x 100 cm (27 1/2 x 39 3/8 in) (unframed)
79 x 109 x 4 cm (31 1/8 x 42 7/8 x 1 5/8 in) (framed)
From a new series of large-scale gouaches, this work combines a landmark building, the Villa Taddei in Fiesole, near Florence by the Italian architect Leonardo Salvioli built in 1966, with elements from a famous Renaissance wall painting, Pinturicchio’s, Cappella Baglioni, in Spello, from circa 1500.
Melsheimer has isolated the figure of an angel from the larger image depicting an Adoration of the Magi scene, integrating the motif into her depiction of the brutalist architectural structure on a dark ground. The artist depicted the drapery and one of the angel’s bird-like wings, but not the figure’s face or body. Placed against an otherwise dark background, the brutalist building appears to rest on a thick web of green plants.
In her gouaches of architectural sites Isa Melsheimer constructs small autonomous worlds, seemingly detached from their real-world settings. The artist often chooses source material showing the building in their original condition, that is, without signs of subsequent decay or dilapidation and without later architectural or landscaping additions. Since the found photographs on which she bases the gouaches are often in black and white, the artist effectively reimagines the colors of the buildings and their interiors, unrestrained by the strictures of verisimilitude.