Carlos Monsalve (Cali 1957), is an artist in full possession of a fantastic artistic maturity; he enjoys a firm reputation as a painter and master in graphic arts. His work is highly appreciated by art enthusiasts and has been well acknowledged by the most demanding critics who have highlighted his creative force, as well as the refinement of his technique.
From the very beginning, in his native homeland Cali, Monsalve showed his interest for social issues, but also for what he has called the “inner spaces”, as well as for the Bohemian world. In Quito, Ecuador he established a family and became naturalized.
The signs of Magic appear later on with the creation of an astonishing imaginary universe, which is very personal and may be identified as an oneiric fantasy that entails a rare seduction and refers us to literature, mythology, traditions, legends, as well as to Colombian and Latin American folk tales.
Monsalve’s palette –in which dark, green and blue tones prevail- is of exquisite quality, with pigments that the master wisely applies with a firm, trained at length, and confident hand. In his canvases the chiaroscuro acquires disturbing nuances that mark gradual and subtle chromatic transitions. Shades give way to diffused lights that brighten up spaces the artist seeks to bring to light, thus adopting a supernatural presence that stops being evident as it turns into fantastic visions.
Monsalve craftily reconciles extreme tensions; he neutralizes contrasts and makes his fantasies true-to-life, thanks to the mastery of forms, colors, and contents. In his recent works the mythical presence of figures like the Mapiripana, priestess of silence, and of the Anaconda, that enormous reptile that in her drapery displays fantastic adornments as she transports herself to the Amazon carrying on her back different peculiar characters, all reveal the coexistence of enigma and reality.
In Monsalve it is difficult to separate the painter from the draftsman, the artisan, the creator. He does everything with the same passion, while he obeys the mysterious mandates of his most inner self.
In his atelier Monsalve has everything at hand; this is his sanctuary where day be day he withdraws together with all his instruments, materials, tools, and potions, which allow him to bring to fruition the marvelous products of his imagination. But most of all, with his endless creativity nurtured by his dreams where imaginings, readings, and mysterious visions cohabit, and which the artist has been able to decode only in a state of grace.
Dr. Inés Flores