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Exhibit | Max Pellegrini: A Retrospective

The Italian artist's penchant for psychedelic allegory is on full display at Heather James Fine Art gallery.

Nicole Borgenichtby Nicole Borgenicht
Max Pellegrini, “Gli Amanti Che Si Amano Non Ci Sono Per Nessuno”, 2011-2012.

The paintings of Max Pellegrini are beautiful representations of imaginative allegories. Each painting is a unique art story engulfed in spiritual mysticism, communicated via luminous colors in deep shades that portray popular themes, all filtered through the artist’s particular perspective. For nearly 50 years, the Turin, Italy based artist and sociology professor has painted intriguing landscapes and mysterious peoples, filled with a constellation of personal symbols and pop design elements that collectively reference culture from the Renaissance to Postmodernism. 

In the painting, “Gli Amanti Che Si Amano Non Ci Sono Per Nessuno”, we observe young lovers seemingly reflected in a lake’s waters, drifting below a mother with child who stands aside an angel with a black ribbon tied around her head. The painting is beautiful and golden, and also features a cherub, lizard, owl, and moon. One can only guess at the narrative tethers, but there is meaning in the guessing. 

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“The title is inspired by a poem of French poet Prevert, ‘Young lovers do not exist for the world’. However, today that title is difficult to translate because all lovers are young,” says Pellegrini. “Yes, there are several stories. The lovers are hiding. The mother and the child are the result of the lovers’ love. The newborn is the lovers’ dream tied to a red ribbon, which represents life, and tied to a black ribbon, which represents death. The angel protects everything, including the end of the lovers’ love, with his black ribbon.”  

 

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Max Pellegrini, “Bacio Del Principe”.

With the oil painting “Bacio Del Principe” (trans.: “The Prince’s Kiss”), Pellegrini has created a mesmerizing story that both blends and juxtaposes the deep, fluid landscape in the background with the colorful chameleon and bathing young beauty in the foreground. Highly decorative, with incredible and subtle variations of color, the painting is simultaneously flat and expansive, overwhelmingly monochromatic and brilliantly varied. “I was once told that success is an administrative process, while art remains a mystery,” says Pellegrini. “In ‘The Prince’s Kiss’ I was looking for the colors of the chameleon, which is the prince.”

With painterly skills that seem continuously expanding, Pellegrini’s next paintings will be a series of kisses inspired by “The Prince’s Kiss”,  a narrative that the artist looks forward to deepening. Each painting of Max Pellegrini’s is a discovery of an imaginative time, place and culture, and yet the sequences of colors and spiritual iconography always seem warm and familiar.

“I believe that I belong to that type of artist who always paints the same painting,” says Pellegrini. “The new elements of this period are the new sentiments I am experiencing: my grandchildren’s birth, the relationship with my wife Roberta ,who I continue to discover since our 46 years began, and America, which as an artist I am discovering for the first time.” 

“Max Pellegrini: A Retrospective Exhibition” is showing at Heather James Fine Art (45188 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260) through March 27, 2016.
Images courtesy of the artist and Heather James Fine Art.