Nature Captured with a Pencil


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Romano Bertuzzi draws hyper realistic images of cut or sliced wood, addressing
nature in its beauty by delineating the complexity of surface texture and change of
that surface caused by natural events (weathering) or man-induced (charcoal fabrication).
Bertuzzi’s tool is the pencil, a seemingly basic implement for drawing encountered
early in childhood, but a tool that is exceedingly difficult to master. He aims to
achieve absolute perfection in illustration. Drawing bark, for instance, he displays
a deep understanding of mark making as, with ravishing attention, he transmits the
importance of surface and texture. There is a gentleness in this pedantry, which
articulates the beauty of naturally evolved variance.
Depiction of wood is primary in the artist’s oeuvre, but he also depicts stone
altered by man for practical purposes, as well as other manipulated materials from
nature, be it making cheese or kneading bread or producing charcoal by burning
wood. The focus is on the humble but indispensable materials that surround
us—wood and stone and grain—in nature, in architecture, in tools and utensils.
Bertuzzi’s drawings recognize the vagaries of the material, rendering it in exquisite
detail. They reach beyond the photographic experience by his obsessive microscopic
exploration of nature through the beautiful medium of graphite on paper.