Melissa Barbieri, who lives in Essex, has ‘rolled up her sleeves’ to master the demanding ancient method of ‘fresco secco’. These sparkling panels featuring a single image of coral, octopus, fish, seahorse, are the results of incredible diligence in form and technique. Each the result of mixing and handling combinations of plaster and tempera in perfect measure, are remarkably fresh in their artistic vitality.
Born and raised in Fairfield, Barbieri learned to paint on site at Southport harbor under the aegis of her grandmother, Mary Taylor, absorbing her “en plein air” authenticity. At the precocious age of 14, she began studying under Frank Covino at his renowned academic studio. Her direction towards Italian Renaissance methods continued at the Ringling School of Art & Design in Sarasota. It was during a study trip in Rome that she developed an intensive investigation into fresco painting. This current exhibit is the first major demonstration of her advancing mastery of the painting craft handled by Masaccio, Fra Angelico, and Raphael. “I am gaining confidence – who knows what new murals and commissions will come my way,” says Barbieri – “I am in awe of these Renaissance teachers.”