Calo Carratalá, interpreter of landscapes

Jun 25, 2018 11:17AM

Between the mountains and the tropical forests, Spanish painter Calo Carratalá is on the hunt for wild landscapes, that he wanders around alone for weeks or even months to develop an intimate link with the different sites. Back in his studio near Valencia he transforms the material that he has collected into drawings and paintings in which realism merges with his own feelings.

Calo Carratalá
Reflection n°4, Jungle series, 2011

Spanish writer Juan Bonilla quoted : "Carratalá is an itinerant painter." Having explored the immediate surrounds of the town of Torrent, Spain, where he has set up his studio, this Spanish artist set off to discover the world, in a trend which today takes him still further in his quest for wild landscapes : the Spanish Pyrenees, the Swiss alps, the Grand Canyon in the US, the Peruvian amazon, the mountains of Tanzania…  His stays are veritable submersions and can last several months. The artist likes to live and relive a landscape, like a portraitist wanting to familiarize himself with his model from every angle before starting work : He observes by day and by night, in clement or inclement weather, scorched by the noon day sun or warmed by the horizontal rays of sunset… Each time he will draw a sketch, use watercolors for any patterns, take photographs and jot down all he sees and feels in a travel journal.  For Calo Carratalá the landscape is internalized, understood, allowed to settle. Upon his return the artist leaves it a couple of months before picking up his material : what appears on the canvas or the paper, with the nervous and synthetic fabrication so characteristic of his work, is neither a faithful or exact representation, nor is it an imaginary landscape : Calo Carratalá's art is somewhere between the two where the place and the feeling experienced reconstruct the landscape.  " When I paint a landscape, I try to convey the impression it has left me. It is not the portrayal of a site, that doesn't interest me."  For all that, the artist is not trying to impose his vision, but rather get his paintings or drawings to transport the viewer into a reverie crammed with his own recollections and questionings regarding nature. Calo Carratalá refuses to take part in the pursuit of a shock-effect, an immediate impact : in the visual ambient commotion, his work is simply trying to suggest, to evoke, to provoke a little contemplation. As if this formula by Saint Thomas Aquinas applied : "better to illuminate than merely to shine."

Calo Carratalá is a contemporary Spanish artist, based in Valencia. Trained in the faculty of Fine Arts in Valencia, he has been exhibiting for nearly thirty years in Europe, mostly in Spain and some of his work makes up part of prestigious private and public collections ( Mapfre Vida Foundation, Bancaixa Foundation, Spanish ministry of foreign affairs, Giménez Godoy Collection, Wellington Foundation… )  His mastery of pictorial technique and his original approach to landscape painting have been compensated by several distinctions, amongst which the scholarship to the Spanish Academy in Rome (2000) and a gold medal in the 21st BMW painting prize (2006).

Visit Artistics Gallery for more information  (biography video, portfolio).