This exhibition by Jean O’Reilly Barlow gives new life and beauty to artifacts that have gone forgotten. Her spolvero creations are embellished with precious gems and other natural materials, showcasing the acclaimed, centuries-old technique that Barlow has made her own. Her transformation of antiques into mesmerizing works of art rejuvenates them into a newfound context. Her pieces stand as a reminder to the viewer that there still exists beauty within the discarded and broken.
With beginnings as Ireland’s first supermodel, Jean O’Reilly Barlow is no stranger to an emphasis on aesthetics. Regarding her company, Interi, Barlow maintains the stance that the home is the highest gallery and should be adorned as such. She favors the process of spolvero, an art form that uses the transference technique of “pouncing” an image from one surface to another using a fine powder. Jean O’Reilly Barlow employs this 15th-century practice to “salvage the sacred” with this collection. She believes the fragments discovered in these Italian ecclesiastical structures hold great potential to be made beautiful again and highlight the pieces’ “pure, natural beauty.”
This exhibition is part of Jean’s ongoing collaboration with Florence University of the Arts – The American University of Florence in a comprehensive and engaging project that provides FUA and AUF students with a look into the abandoned realms of Italian art history. Jean’s interest in the well-being of her surrounding community complements FUA-AUF’s mission to provide students with an educational model based on experiential learning, cultural integration, and engagement with local Florence.