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This artwork is from our Darker Minty group exhibition. This is a group exhibition exploring the complexities of the human experience. Working across various forms of painting and sculpture, these artists navigate identity, intimacy, personal struggle, and our relationships to natural and built environments. Their work is raw, visceral, evocative and mysterious, reflecting the spirit of Hobart’s infamous Dark Mofo festival. They share a focus on materiality - from oil and acrylic paint, to concrete, clay and steel - creating works that are highly tactile and reveal the physicality of their making. The human form is a recurring subject matter in these works, with depictions ranging from spectral to corporeal, whilst others explore the physical and emotional spaces we inhabit. Whether figurative or abstract, these works give expression to some of life’s most complex emotions and experiences.
Francesco Petrolo grew up in the south of Italy. Becoming a blacksmith at the age of 13, he was taught the ancient trade by a master blacksmith in a forbidden neighbouring village. He worked throughout Italy and Europe for several years, honing his skills, before arriving in Australia in the early 80’s. He established his own workshop, ‘Francesco’s Forge’, and continued to develop his unique style. His work includes fine art sculpture, installations and furniture, as well as elaborate designs for gardens and interiors.
Petrolo uses steel and bronze as if they have the softness of clay. He bends and joins the material into lyrical, fluid forms that dance into space. His objects have a sense of immediacy, with evidence of the artist’s hand apparent throughout. These serve as reminders of the immense forces used in their making, and impart on the works a sense of physical strength and nobility. This is further enhanced by their earthy, raw patina.
Artwork location: Hobart