Meet The Artist: Eva Trentin
Dr. Sunil Deepak, 23 April 2022
Eva Trentin is an artist from Marano Vicentino, a tiny commune a few kilometres away from Schio (Veneto, Italy), where I live. Her art is closely linked to the nature and the natural world, such as flowers, leaves, plants and trees. Her works combine the organic world with UV photography and some special techniques of imprinting on paper and clothes, creating designs which look like rain-washed shadows of fossils.
I am always very keen to meet artists and to understand the ideas underlying their artistic evolution. Recently, I had an opportunity to talk to Eva and to visit her art-studio. This article is an introduction to her and her art-world. Let me start it by showing you an artwork called "289" which had a profound impact on me when I had seen it at the Mutazioni exhibition in Schio in 2021.
This work "289" was my first real encounter with her at the Mutazioni art exhibition held in Palazzo Fogazzaro, our local venue in Schio for important art events. I was captured by it and in an article about that art event, had described its impact on me with the following words:
I want to close this article with the work I liked most in this exhibition - I absolutely loved the mosaic like works of Eva Trentin from Marano Vicentino, with each piece of the mosaic expressing nature, places and moments of life. I felt that I could look at them for hours, find new points of reflection and at the same time, feel an emotional connection with them.
The image below of her another artwork titled Mare (Sea) is also from the same exhibition.
My second encounter with Eva came during a visit to the fifth Schio Biennale on Paper-art, when I was invited by Valeria Bertesina, the curator of the Biennale, for a special guided tour of the exhibition. Eva was also invited to it. We were together in a small group for a few hours. We spoke briefly but at that time, I didn’t realise that she was the same artist whose work I had liked so much.
Fortunately, some weeks later Eva saw my article on this blog and contacted me. So, recently I went to visit her home and her art studio in Marano Vicentino, where she lives with her husband and twin daughters. It was an opportunity to talk to her about her artistic journey and the ideas underlying her art.
Eva’s Artistic Journey
Her artistic journey started in an art institute when she attended the G. de Fabris artistic school in Nove (VI), which was followed by a degree in interior design at ISAI Academy in Vicenza. For many years Eva worked in a studio of interior designers and architecture, till about 6 years ago when she started a new phase of her life as an artist, after her husband gifted her some plastic art materials, which led her to taking up art more seriously. Soon, she gravitated towards the use of flowers in her art.
During the last couple of years, she has started experimenting with botanical printing inspired by the works of Australian artist India Flint, who uses leaf printing, eucalyptus dyes and botanical alchemy, garment cutting and stitching, paper-folding, bookbinding and a little poetry; and by the Israeli artist Irit Dulman, who makes monochromatic and colour botanical prints on silk and cellulose fabrics.
Thus, Eva started experimenting and combining different techniques which use organic materials such as tree-barks, leaves, flowers and resins for paper-printing and then combined them with photography, cyanotype and fabric-printing.
Art Techniques of Eva Trentin
Eva has developed her own art techniques which I call “delicate imprinting” - it involves organic matter such as leaves and flowers which leave their imprints on paper and tissues such as silk, and which look like fossils drawn in gentle lines and soft colours. These imprinted papers and tissues can then be combined with resins or cut into different shapes, can be placed on different surfaces covered with gold-leaf or cyanotype, sometimes combined in mosaics of hundreds of small pieces, which look like scrolls telling stories like the two works presented above.
I am not sure if these techniques of imprinting organic matter (Botanical Prints on Paper or fabrics) to create art have a specific name.
She explained to me about the Cyanotype technique, as I was not aware of it. Later, I searched for it online to understand it better. Wikipaedia defines it as “is a slow-reacting, economical photographic printing formulation sensitive to a limited near ultraviolet and blue light spectrum, the range 300nm to 400nm known as UVA radiation. It produces a cyan-blue print used for art as monochrome imagery applicable on a range of supports, and for reprography in the form of blueprints. For any purpose, the process usually uses two chemicals: ferric ammonium citrate or ferric ammonium oxalate, and potassium ferricyanide, and only water to develop and fix. Announced in 1842, it is still in use.”
Over the years, Eva has made a conscious choice of moving away from chemical products and using only natural materials in her art. For example, she experiments with the extraction of natural colours from the flowers, barks and leaves for her art. She defines these natural colours as being “multi-vibrational with specific mutating tones, because every colour is composed of different shades whose vibrations combine together, and which transmit a sense of equilibrium and aesthetic pleasure”.
Her studio is a workshop where she keeps her collections of leaves, flowers, tree-barks and their extracts. “I am not very orderly, sometimes, I forget to label the things and then I have to throw them away”, she confesses candidly, while showing off a box full of barks of different trees which her father had collected for her.
Actually, her studio, located in the attic of her home, seemed to be in perfect order, everything was labelled and placed in boxes, though the fridge was kind of overflowing with them. A microwave oven and a couple of steam baths are part of her art equipment as she needs to keep her leaves and flowers wrapped in the paper for many hours at a time, while they leave their imprints.
Eva is also experimenting with other ways to use her art for making daily use objects. She is collaborating with a jeweller for making ear-rings while her imprints on silk are being used for making unique kimono-like jackets.
Meeting Eva and learning more about her artistic process was like opening a door and discovering a new world of conceptualising and experimenting with art. It was a world where nature and natural processes, some what similar to the those which lead to the making of fossils, are used to create art. It also made me think of the prehistoric artists who had left their hand-prints and drawings in the caverns and rocks in different parts of the world.
Every encounter with a new artist is a journey for discovering new ways of expressing artistic impulses, sometimes through new materials and/or techniques. That artistic expression can be seen as a continuum on a spectrum, which goes from sparse lines drawn on sand or rock, to paintings using different materials, to sculptures of stones and metals, to new ways of combining emerging technologies. Eva's work are located on that spectrum close to nature where dream like delicate figures in soft colours become manifest through her imagination.
I love meeting artists and trying to understand their specific gaze and thinking which underlies their creative expressions. Meeting Eva was a wonderful part of that journey.
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