Why do I rebel against my own satisfactions, but then want others to join me in my demonstration against the status quo? CC and I are invited for the bank holiday weekend to stay with friends at their idyllic villa in Lucca. Sunshine, good food, nice wine, fun company – a feast for the senses. You’d think I’d be content to luxuriate in this little paradise. But instead, I cause the four of us to bump over country roads, kicking up marble dust through yards of local stone quarries, in search of Luca Bertolo’s studio. CM from Arcade Gallery had encouraged me to get in touch, since I was going to be in the area, so this is my way of imposing order on an otherwise perfectly lovely expanse of unplanned and unstructured leisure time.

Fortunately, Luca himself is a charming man and has an interesting painting practice. He recently moved to this new studio from his home up in the mountains, and hasn’t fully unpacked or colonised it with the requisite junk and clutter that would make it feel more used. He shows us recent paintings that reference flags, and others that play with illusionistic and actual surfaces with trompe l’oeil raindrops and palette knife smears of paint. I like best his paintings mounted on sticks like mute protest signs; maybe these are speaking to the rebel in me. I also loved his paintings that were inspired by films, particularly this one where he has captured the carefree antics of girls on a walk in the sunshine.


Luca Bertolo's studio


Detail from one of Luca’s older paintings inspired by film scenes