Colour must represent in painting, what the labour and the power of bronze do in sculpture, in other words, the equivalent strength, rhythm and intensity. There is, in fact, in Montalbano's paintings - and this is what strikes the eye - a chromatic explosion, a saturation of colours. But it is not an over-use, and as Matisse said : “An avalanche of colour is in itself meaningless. Colour only achieves its full potential when it is organized, when it corresponds to the artist's emotional intensity.” What counts for Alessandro Montalbano, are the associations, the blocks of colours, their confrontation due to complementarities, or through unexpected association of colours which, in principle, do not go together. Force is essentially what the artist wishes to be felt at all costs when one stands before one of his creations.
Alessandro Montalbano maintains a certain exigency which is that of a strong and very personal creation. What is important is the way in which the artist fashions his very own language, an expressive language, where sensation and instinct reign. These vigorous graphics, this audacious colour confrontation, these impulsive and paradoxically most masterful strokes, the very personal stylization of the body, the rhythm which flows forth are all so many stylistic elements which characterize his personal aesthetic style, his strength of expression.
For Montalbano painting is a means of compensating for some of the “drawbacks” imposed by sculpture : for example, the absence of the head in his sculptures is more than made up for through his portraits. The will of the artist is to create a resemblance at the same time physical and mental with the model.
The face of the models prevails, but the intuition of the artist in front of the person, its sensation associated with its plastic writing dominate above all. In these portraits, we feel very clearly the speed and the energy of the brush. But although it is affixed with swiftness, the touch is not less clear and precise there and defines effectively what it is intended. Used quite as much as his brush, Montalbano always has to hand a small supple spatula with which he “scratches” the painting, to let his famous “striations” take form : he redesigns the lips, accentuates the eyes, the ovalness of the face, scratches with long, fine strokes the outer covering layer of paint in order to let the underlying colour surface… Through this fashion of lifting out the “painting matter”, we truly feel how present the sculptor is in his paintings. The striations produced by this spatula in painting act like those made by a circular saw in sculpture, in that they produce the same effect of concentrated tension on the material, whether it be bronze or painting.
"Since my installation in the South of the Burgundy, I see everyday cows, calves but especially bulls, which as painter and sculptor strongly inspired me. The body of this animal fascinates me, both by its power and by its harmony. From there was born the series My neighbour in homage to the Charolais bull who lives in the meadow close to my house and with whom I established the dialogue... "
Montalbano's wish is to confront and interpret finely the struggles and tensions inherent in man, but it is important to know how to distance these conflicts, even to manage to play them down, in showing a sense of humour. That is how Alesandro Montalbano takes up in painting the same themes developed in sculpture, while exerting both a critical yet less serious look at these questions. It is with a touch of derision that he treats these complicated relationships which, for him, exist between man and woman. It goes without saying that such a calling into question means, first of all, personal conscience-taking on these relationships which, as shown in certain of his works representing woman, have not always been simple and happy. A sizeable portion of his paintings is characterized then by this “parody” of the themes which preoccupy him. This is borne out through the couples of women and of horses, which need, of course, to be interpreted, as man-woman couples. Their difficulties in coexisting are given a lighter treatment. Montalbano's horses often take on, in his painting, human expressions. Thus, the male chauvinist figure-head incarnated by the horse is being mocked at through the superior and proud air the artist infuses it with, so rendering it both funny and ridiculous. One must, of course, see this procedure as the artist's way of being self-critical, ending up in obvious self-derision.
"Since I play tenor saxophone in a band (Alpach'Jazz) and since I discover jazz thanks to the practice of my instrument and by listening to the big jazzmen, I feed on this music which possesses in her at the same time rigor and freedom. My painting was exactly in a turning point where I unmistakably needed freedom but did not succeed in finding the subject and the state of mind capable of bringing me towards this dimension. I then appropriated this theme of jazz and tried to return through my paintings what I felt. And because the saxophone for a saxophonist, the piano for a pianist or the trumpet for a trumpeter is permanently in its spirit, in his head, the first image which came to me is the one of the instrument put on the head. And so I began the Jazz series which evolves ceaselessly according to my musical inspirations, fed by the biggest musicians, but also by the particular and intimate atmosphere of jazz clubs. In jazz as in painting, there is a necessity of the knowledge, the technique, but the purpose is to manage to free itself from it, in order to reach the freedom and the spontaneity looked for...Rhythm is in the center of my work and it is why the theme of jazz was in a way inevitable for me to unite musical rhythm and pictorial rhythm. This research for the rhythm is going to express itself through my painting by an interplay of contrasts between the various plans which compose the picture : colour patches, collages, purely graphic abstract elements such as lines, points, circles... "
SERIES : APOLOGY, FLOWERS, DESIRE
In the series Apology, the artist gives free range to his creative rapture with ardour and enthusiasm, through impetuous graphics, chromatic explosion, and tumultuous composition, to produce paintings of luxuriant vegetation bathed in sunlight and breathing life. It is a sighting of world poised between heaven and earth, where nature's positive forces are trying to reign ; a nature, today, so poorly treated, which yet hides in it the secret of perpetual renewal and of eternity.
The series Desire represents the evocative power of certain objects, as here in woman's shoes, which they alone have the capacity to arouse, in our minds, numerous possible situations. While putting these objects under the spotlight, the artist leaves each of us free to imagine what is going on right beside us...
PAINTINGS : 1992 - 1995
In this period (1992 - 1995), the search for construction and for assembly of the shape in sculpture has a big repercussion on the painting work. Bodies are built by plans, masses and by very marked volumes. Similarities between both disciplines are completely visible through the series of the Venus I, II, III and IV, for example, where this is the direct transcription of a sculpture in paint.
PAINTINGS : 1988 - 1990
"Painting and sculpture are as my two legs : I need both to move forward"
It is at that time that Montalbano really begins its experiment of sculptor through terra-cotta and plaster. However, this mode of expression does not substitute itself for the painting but on the contrary, feeds it and enriches her it. His paintings evolve into a more solid and complex shape's structure.
In 1985, while he is still only a young student of the Fine Arts of Florence, Alessandro Montalbano creates the series of Insides (Interno). It is views of workshops where are muddled easels and painter's stools. These easels are empty for the great majority of them, there is no canvas, their shape raises itself as peaks. These paintings represent the agonies of the young artist at the threshold of its career, in front of doubts and perplexities which it suppose. The chromatic range of these paintings, sometimes dark, but with a big wealth of tints, reveals from this period the passion of Montalbano for the color and its organization on the canvas.
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