The Luxury of Light: the art of Shilowska Pretto

The clocks have gone back; days are shortening, shadows lengthening depressingly early, as we hurtle towards midwinter. The light is suddenly at a premium: we treasure those fleeting, crisp, golden autumn days; we make our Jack-O’-Lanterns, our bonfires, and fill the sky with fireworks; Diwali begins; lamps are lit, we hunker down and think about that great tangle of Christmas tree twinklers that will soon need unravelling…

At this time of year Shilowska’s shining art is, I find, irresistible.

All painting is essentially about ‘painting’, about what it as a medium can do. In Shilowska’s words:

“…light, reflection…a search for a technique that allowed me to move away from my preconceived ideas in painting, and above all, fulfil my desire to liberate form and take advantage of the magical, transformative qualities of light..”


Composed of mixed media – non-traditional materials such as car paint, sequins, glassy mosaics, as well as oils – on canvas, these pieces really are Light as Object of Desire.
Jewel-like colour and iridescence, finely-wrought sensuousness:
The paintings exude for me a gleaming preciousness and glamour, a warm richness that appeals to my shameless wintry desire to indulge myself:

“Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté. “*

(From Baudelaire’s L’Invitation au Voyage in Les Fleurs du Mal.)

I love that, the ‘calme’, the tranquil timelessness; the smooth languor of the gently flowing paint which is allowed to go desultorily, lazily, where it will, creating an image of…
Well, what?

Something both macrocosmic and microcosmic; organic patterns reflective of distant galaxies, fathomless oceans, the filigree delicacy of a spider’s web.
Or gorgeous, enchanting magpie dreams.
You choose.

Santa, if you’re listening:
I want.


* “There, everything is but order and beauty, / Luxury, peace and pleasure.”

More of Shilowska’s work:

All images used with the artist’s permission.
Thanks, Shilowska!

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