Michele Petrelli, with an engrossing focus on people (amongst other things) is a storyteller. Like the great Italian author Italo Calvino, he is whimsical, with a caricatured cheekyness, capturing moments of abstractnormality; He describes awkwardness, moments of peril and indifference to being different.
There is also an overall impression that many of Petrelli’s subjects are at ease with themselves a ‘smile on many a dial’, if i may...
In ‘Robbery’, a gang of clownish crooks perform just one of those at an ATM. Credit card in hand, the victim looks back at his assailants as if pleased with his situation and forthcoming financial destruction!
But like any skilled and commendable artist, Michele writes a truly broad narrative. We experience darkness and even horror in ‘Brain eater’ and ‘The Dreams eater 2’. He shares with us an appreciation of the elegance of the female form and its shape when in dance in the more naturalistic and sexy, red, ‘Flamenco’ figurative series.
Animals are not forgotten and seem to hold a sort of precedence in some pieces, with Petrelli placing them in a strange, apparently random comparison to the humans a powerful contrast effect is achieved such as in ‘Condor’. Petrelli, through his work, appears to be fascinated with fascinating us with his people; and he does this through the humility of his circuslike characters; the honesty of his subjects in their various portraitures and moments of beauty and with his own style of surrealism. Not only is this artist brilliant in the skilled use of the tools of his trade, but it’s the willingness to present us with his people with unique humour, trippy pathos and heaps of genre variety that makes him so impressive.
Mitchell P. Ward