A light in the darkness of the night

In the series of works entitled ‘Dark Night’, Michele Dolz’s research deals with the natural theme of the Mountain, a subject already faced and investigated upon by many authors from the XVIII century to the present day, as evidenced by the exhibition ‘Mountain Art Science and Myth’ created at the Mart in Rovereto in 2003.

In the Romantic period, the discovery of the mountain is a source of attraction and repulsion, elation and fear. Being by excellence the place of astonishment and wonder, the mountain lead the way to the sublime, expressed by such authors as Turner, Friedrich and Füssli. From Symbolism to Expressionism (also thanks to recent scientific discoveries), on the one hand we have a realistic aproach, attentive to detail and overview, and on the other an experimental and visionary one, in the works of Cézanne, Nolde, Kandinsky, Kirchner, where it becomes a symbol of contemporary human condition.

In Michele Dolz's works we find alternating feelings of anxiety and trepidation, springing from the vision of a real and looming black and dark mountain, which is always present in the background of the canvas. The dizziness of the peaks plotted with quick brush strokes, both ascending and descending, the perception of the valleys of darkness recreated with deep black and blue backgrounds, the wonder of the sudden gleams in shades of light, scratches that reflected here and there on the surface of the earth. The mellowness of colour sometimes collides with the liquidity of a strong, bodily mark, which is spread to evoke, more than to describe.

The natural and physical aspect of the representation is overcharged with the divine. With their verticality, mountains have often represented the allegory of the sacred, evoking the idea of a looking down from on high to the abyss, that sense of suspension between heaven and earth, the unfathomable mystery, that sublime place the soul yearns for.

However, it is not a negative feeling of fear and panic that prevails, but in each composition we find the announcement of a hope, the promise of a mirage, the awakening of a faith that is displayed in the clear division between heaven and earth and between land and sea, day and day, day and night, light and darkness. It is a gap, a fissure or a crease that divides the areas and that always lets a bright glow be seen, expanding on the landscape, downstream, in rivers of gold or orange, tangible sign that even in the ‘darkest night’ evoked by John of the Cross. It is the divine light which does not fade but comes to the aid of straying conscience. On the night of the senses, some light still remains on, because judgment and reason never leave man alone.

With these works, Michele Dolz enables the viewer to make an exterior ascent of the mountain that corresponds to the interior one. In the dark night, light is not immediately visible to the eye, but it becomes the means by which you perceive the forms which it invests. It is only then that this light can be seen, that is only by reflection which is determined on some details of the landscape, from the valleys to the peaks, otherwise not visible in the dark.

In the catalog Dark Night, 2012

Chiara Canali