Artist Series: An Introduction to the Enchanting World of Matilde Montanari
Last spring, the most exhilarating email landed in my inbox. It was from a New York-based, Italian artist named Matilde Montanari, and she wanted to share her work with me. I took a look and couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was like a checklist from my daydreams: bold, vibrant colour; washed out, romantic and dusty hues; beautiful, lovely, feminine imagery; dresses and shoes. That would have been enough but there was something emerging through the surface. A feeling began to set in. Nostalgia, reminiscence, introspection. Matilde's imagery, which she conveys largely through self-portraits, draws you in and holds you, prompting you to ask questions of yourself and of the artist. The views, the angles, the perspectives are not the usual presentations. You feel as if you are peeking around a corner to catch a glimpse of a moment in time, a private moment, yet one that feels inviting despite its hint of inaccessibility. The inevitable question 'Why am I being made to look at this?' isn't born of frustration but of intrigue. The scenes are timeless and special, as if from another dimension that is just slightly outside of the one in which we exist.
So why am I only talking about this now? When I connect with work like this, it's a very powerful thing, and I have to take a step back. I was also extremely humbled that Matilde followed my blog and wanted her work featured on it, and so I wanted to do right by it. Little did I know it would take this long to get my head around how to present something that has impacted me so profoundly. So after some major life events I can concentrate again, and here we are, finally. I hope Matilde can forgive me as it's work like this that motivated me to start The Swelle Life in the first place, and it's what keeps it going. And I don't think there has been a day gone by that I didn't think about her pictures or look at them.
She's invented a rare and ultimate combination: sublime beauty and intellectual challenge.
This is a selection of Matilde's commercial work in collaboration with Andrea Morini, which is actually quite varied in subject but I chose the lingerie images because I think they are divine: