Intransigent simplicity


What is essential is also simple... Not always.  There is, however, a simple way of being that leads almost automatically to being essential – it is the so-called ‘heart’s simplicity’, which consists in facing things directly, without … In the perspective of the Gospel, it means addressing complexity knowing how to say ‘yes yes, no no’ when it is appropriate. It is in this spirit of uncompromising simplicity that Michele Dolz has approached art, saying 'yes' to figurative painting and 'no' to abstract painting, because, as he himself says in one of his writings, ‘Even in the spiritual beauty of formal liberty, abstract painting cannot communicate fully with the soul of the beholder, since it has eliminated the common element to the artist and the viewer, that is reality’.

Painting taking reality into consideration, however, does not mean that  Dolz has chosen to embrace the realistic genre: rather, he goes in search of that essential content of things that justifies its existence at least aesthetically.

Of course, if one only considers its formal level, this research may seem very little innovation. If, however, it is considered in the current artistic context, it shapes completely new contours, emphasizing a certain disagreement with the ideas currently in vogue in painting. Today, in fact, the painted image oscillates between two symmetrically opposite poles – the more slavish realism argues that it is necessary to reproduce what surrounds us so thoroughly and indiscriminately, emulating photography and the media, whereas neo-abstraction claims to bring reality to a total eclipse, giving way to a lyricism with visibly decorative purposes. For Dolz reality should be neither overlooked nor exasperated, but, if anything, subjected to a process of transfiguration that enables us to grasp its inner dimension, the reverb that it produces in the mind of the beholder. This primacy of interiority is to be achieved, from a technical point of view, through the use of intense colours, overflowing and almost always subjective, that do tend to effectively describe not the objects themselves but rather the feelings that they arouse in the artist. Dolz knows that adopting this equivalence between colour and feeling he is following some acknowledged and, according to some, outdated historical avant-garde masters, especially Matisse. What, however, relates his art to the cultural climate of the early twentieth century - thus making it, in the best of senses, out of date – is not so much its formal setting or aesthetic concept, but rather its search for a spiritual dimension of art that is shared by very few ‘masters’ of  contemporary avant-garde movements. In those years, in fact, even such a secular artist as Matisse could not help wondering what such an expression as 'religious painting’ might mean, giving himself this answer (which Dolz couldn’t but share) – ‘Painting reality in a religious spirit means approaching it in a simple and essential spirit, knowing that its every detail is of extraordinary importance’.