To Dream, to Collect

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Few weeks ago, in the beautiful tiny historical town of Scicli, in Sicily, I met an extraordinary artist, a painter, who moved there to live, while going back and forth from Milan.

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Lola Montes Schnabel moved from New York to Italy, and precisely to Scicli among many other places, just before the Italian lockdown, because of various reasons. Among these, I think that the main ones leading her to such decision were the quiet and dense mood of that town, the color of the ground, the rawness of nature and the beauty of the landscape embracing the mountains, the rocks and the sea. 

I bet for an artist, and specifically for a painter, a place like Sicily must be deeply inspiring. Lola and I met at a bar in a sunny square in front of a Monastery, where she was exhibiting in a group show during the first edition of Ex Machina Festival. I went to her studio, right outside the small town, in the middle of that sandy landscape, hidden behind olive trees and dunes. 

Lola Montes Schnabel, Goodroom, Embrace, 2018.

 

Her house is beautiful, especially due to the atmosphere that Lola was able to recreate, mixing all the places she has visited. The studio absorbed all her experiences, emotions, people she met, changes and thoughts, as those paintings left outside to dry, but that eventually got wet because of the rain. Big, sometimes huge, canvases were in fact left outside. Strong colors as red, pink, brown. A portrait of her dog. The one she found in Sicily. Big tomatoes that she caught from a billboard in the street which and that once reproduced by her touch became almost abstract, but still recognizable. And then greens: leaves, trees, oleanders, tall shapes that raise as human being, or surreal peaks to climb. Here, humanity and nature melt, as in a spiritual but instinctive action. 

Lola Montes Schnabel, Goodroom, Finding blue eyes, 2018.

 

Lola Schnabel painting is complex. Her works require an expert eye, one that have studied history of art, from the Renaissance to Goya drawings, from the post American Expressionism to the Italian Transavanguardia. A cultivate glimpse could catch all her references that are overcame by a feminine thinking, together with an impetuous, though intimate, embryonic spirituality and a poetic strong harmony.  

Instead of using raw materials, she tries to depict them through a vivaciously manipulation of reality, as it were a sort of ritual. Also, her titles refer to important subjects, and clearly explicative on her way to approach art and life: series named “Nomad”, “Testing Spirit”, “Looking through the phantom”, “Fluttuazioni”, “Love before intimacy”, titles such as “Pisolino”, “The miracle”, “Embrace”. Words that remind of continuous movement, dancing figures, ghosts, painted in a gentle battlefield as a display. 

 

Lola Montes Schnabel, Goodroom, Mystic votive, 2018.

 

Lola Montes Schnabel, Love before Intimacy, 2011.

 

Lola Montes Schnabel, Nomad, Heroic Fantasy, 2020.

Cover image: Lola Montes Schnabel, Testing Spirit, Testing Spirits, 2016.

Wrtitten by Rossella Farinotti

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.

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