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Public Spaces: Painting by Rafael Sottolichio

A painting of a public space with a silhouetted figureEspace Public no. 42, oil and acrylic on canvas

Rafael Sottolichio makes narrative paintings that reference and explore public spaces. Strange, incongruous figures are often placed in anonymous public spaces that might be malls, airports or office buildings.


The artist’s most recent series, Archipels, takes inspiration from the concept of an archipelago, or many different ideas existing in a single space, but not blending together. The resulting images are intriguingly ambiguous. The works in this series are still mainly set in public spaces, which range in aesthetic from ornate and classical to cold, modern steel and concrete. The figures are equally varied, depicted as realistic people, or person-shaped collections of coloured lines.


A painting of a strange figure on a stageL'actrice no. 1, oil and acrylic on canvas

I really enjoy the way that the artist focuses on the space of a work, and the interactions between that space and the figures placed within it. In the series entitled Public Spaces, Sottolichio often uses white-lined silhouettes or undulating coloured forms to express the human visitors, which in turn lends the space itself a sense of autonomy.

A painting of a strange public space with abstracted elementsEspace Public no. 44, oil and acrylic on canvas


About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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