Bristol native Carl Melegari paints in a dramatic and bold style, focused primarily on human heads. Melegari held a lecturing post at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David for many years, having graduated from the institution with a BA Hons in fine art. Carl is of Italian heritage, but born and raised in the United Kingdom. The artist tends to title his paintings with unique names reflecting his ancestry, at the same time infusing a touch of mystery as to the sitter's true identity. Melegari's unique painting process is a consideration and exploration of paint and its various behaviours when mixed and applied in different ways. His practice also involves revisiting the same portrait time and again, in some instances years after his most recent adjustments.
"I begin by applying an oil turpentine tonal wash to the figure. I apply various impasto layers of oil paints (I mix an alkyd medium with the oil to enable a better drying process) at times using a brush, but predominately palette knives. I occasionally scrape back layers only to reapply in the same area liberally, vigorously attacking the canvas. This is applied with bold applications of paint fused with thinned paint using either or sometimes a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine. All this allows the paint to interact with my application. I will allow the drips to run in different directions. The drying process can take weeks and quite often I will rework into the painting by peeling away and reworking the layers. I'm basically exploring the physicality of the paint and how it reacts with the surface - applying the paint generously and allowing it to drip spontaneously too."
Carl Melegari's style is unmistakably dramatic and unique, most recognized for its dripping downward pull. Despite the action and thickness of Melegari's surfaces, a figure still surges through with great gravity and surprising amounts of detail. The layers Melegari builds up, and the artist's tendency to rework a piece multiple times causes comparisons to be drawn with the likes of Auerbach and Freud; however, Melegari's style stands on entirely on its own as uniquely and distinctively his. Melegari's palette tends to be muted on the whole, with splashes of red or purple hues to make his subjects pop. Despite the near brooding nature of Melegari's subjects, the painter's works are among the most popular acquisitions for living spaces and the workplace.
Where to buy Carl Melegari
Thompson's Galleries are the exclusive London representative of Carl Melegari and his paintings; we pride ourselves on sourcing the top new selections directly from the artist's studio year-round. Melegari's works are also widely recognized from their exposure at numerous art fairs, travelling with Thompson's to stands at Art Hamptons, Art Toronto, and the Affordable, FRESH, and London Art Fairs, to name a few.