a duality of extraordinary forces defines british artist paolo del toro’s sculptural oeuvre, a complex battle between beautiful and bizarre. large fearsome faces, sometimes spanning more than 6 feet in height, are painstakingly made of foam and needle felted wool, expressing at once magnificence and menace. ‘it is my hope that the work I create challenges the viewer to examine the deeper nature of a subject,’ del toro explains. ‘by obscuring the boundary between beauty and ugliness, the safe and the dangerous, the inviting and the repelling, the familiar and the foreign, the graceful and the grotesque, we are forced to consider that one might also be the other.’

paolo del toro

 

 

‘as an artist, I draw from the deep waters of the human sub-conscious, visiting a landscape of dreams to retrieve ideas and characters that form the basis of my sculptural work,’ del toro continues. aesthetically, his sources range from psychological systems to mythological art, and are guided by motifs from fairytales, outsider, folk, and tribal art, jungian theory, and gnosticism. ‘in many of my pieces, characters find themselves locked in a power struggle with symbolic and totemistic animals. in other instances, this contrast is found within individual characters, as they find themselves at odds with their own identity.’

paolo del toro

 

 

furthering the intricacy of each character’s expressed personality, del toro frequently uses masks in his work as a symbolic device to convey the theme of opposing identities. ‘I particularly enjoy reversing the traditional concept of the mask, using the calm and serine face as the mask, which is removed to reveal a monstrous face beneath.’

paolo del toro

paolo del toro

paolo del toro

paolo del toro

paolo del toro

paolo del toro

paolo del toro

paolo del toro

paolo del toro

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