Paolo Colombo’s Visual Poetry

Avery Wheless, Artillery Magazine, October 4, 2018

Review of the exhibition Paolo Colombo, Baert Gallery, 2018.


Upon walking into Paolo Colombo’s opening at Baert Gallery last Saturday, we were immediately absorbed into a world of visual poetics. Contrary to most openings, which tend to be more reliant on interaction with the overall “scene,” each of Colombo’s works posed opportunity for conversation and connection. After a long week of noise and small talk, this was more than enticing. One could not help but to observe the nuanced works with a sense of personal reflection as each beckoned with softness, while also demanding concentration. The show consisted of watercolor and pencil pieces on paper, which focused on image and text. The first work that struck me was coupled with a poem I won’t easily forget:


We have to write we have to write.

And this is because of the silence of mosaics,

the silence of statues,

the silence of temples and of columns.

And this is because of the silence of altars.

It is we the faithful, who bear its weight.

—Bisogna Scrivere


I thanked Scrivere for this moment of appreciation for all writers before carrying on with the show with a newfound sense of feeling. Some works were accompanied with poems while others were merely image-based, but each provided a much needed internal dialogue, contrary to the typical externally loud art opening. The works’ intricate, layered lines accumulated into textured marks, evoking a sense of weight and space, while maintaining intimacy. One could not help but to observe the overall hushed atmosphere of the opening while the artist and viewers mingled and engaged with the work.


Satiated by the voice of each piece, we were able to rely on conversation with the art, and frankly, I crave more of that. Truly, it’s not what you say its how you say it—and lucky for us, Colombo’s pieces said it just right.