Melegari’s recent success and collectability stems from a style which manages to create a dark tension alongside an extremely human vulnerability.
The works’ titles allude to historical figures, some with direct references to myth, such as Icarus, who attempted to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax.
Other titles are more shadowy and ambiguous such as Mencius; perhaps referring to Mencius of China who sought to defend the teachings of Confucius.
Yet another title seems to point to Seneca a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist.
These tenuous links to history and past lives help to add a certain mystery and depth to Melegari’s work, however the paint itself is as much the subject as the people depicted.
“The figures themselves probably owe much to my solitude as an artist, but that feeling of isolation is perhaps incidental,” explains Melegari.
“I often get asked if there is a message behind my paintings. What interests me much more is the paint itself and how it reacts with the surface.
But I have to concede that the result is often a subject who looks to be searching for his or her soul – probably a similar emotion being felt by many artists.”
The result is a series of paintings where the paint seemingly cascades down the canvas, their depth further enhanced by the artist’s use of dense and muted pigments, leaving behind a subject matter perhaps deliberately shrouded in mystery.
His current style of painting is, however, a relatively new departure as he previously focused heavily on plein air painting – the style particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors.
“That taught me above all else the use of local colour and a rather muted palette, which I’ve taken with me,” he says. “I certainly now feel more comfortable than ever before with my output.”