In Daria Petrilli’s artworks the female figures appear ethereal and unreachable. The artist inserts them into a fairy-tale afterlife where they are often accompanied by animals. In clothes from a distant era, these pale Victorian beauties may look to the viewer with a piercing gaze. Some extend long fingers into the nothingness, reminiscent of the Italian Mannerist painter Bronzino. In Daria Petrilli’s extraordinary works, the women become mystical beings, their bodies adorned with shells and flowers. They are surrounded by ibises, parrots, or geese that appear more like the heralds of purgatory than birds of paradise. The artist says: “To me, these birds are messengers of primordial obsessions. That is why they appear in my work so often.”
In the Dreaming series, Daria Petrilli brings us into these fairy-tale worlds. In “Lady of the Red Ibis,” a woman leads six red ibises through a dreamscape, holding leashes tied around their long necks. Eyes down, she seems to be frozen in place. In "Dual Nature", identical twins look out from the piece with an intense gaze. One appears to be wearing a meadow, the other is dressed dramatically in black. Different in nature. In "Loneliness of an Anthurium", the solo laceleaf flower reflects the solitude of the protagonist whose head is, quite literally, up in the clouds.
Daria Petrilli digitally edits existing images, resulting in pieces of figurative symbolism reminiscent of classical painting. On her creative process, the Italian artist says: “I reworks photographs with digital painting interventions. I create a collage ... a triumph of Photoshop. I could have also used traditional instruments, but these illustrations were born as a personal amusement and I made them without the vetoes of a client and in the most immediate way.”
Daria Petrilli’s style blurs the lines between reality and imagination. With her singular visual vocabulary, she guides us into mystical worlds, making the subjects’ loneliness almost physically perceptible. The artist finds the balance between the Italian Renaissance and the subversive language of Pop Surrealism.
Daria Petrilli was born in Rome in 1970 and studied art at the Instituto Europeo di Design Roma. She has illustrated multiple children’s books. Petrilli has received many awards, including the Accademia Pictor Award of Turin three years in a row from 2006 to 2008. She is a member of the Italian Illustrators Association. Her work has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world.