Biography in synthesis

Mara lives and works in Italy in the province of Modena.
After the first experiences in adolescence, with figurative oil portraits on medium-sized canvases, she began to paint with determination from 1980 to 1995, also continuing to study piano; doing some exhibits, personal and collective.
She then resumed continuously from 2008.
She didn't follow a formal artistic education, but her natural eclectic spirit, led her to express herself as spans a range of media including: installations of tropical leaves-painted sculptures; words on silk panels; ceramic pots; pillow-talking objects; large oil paintings.
Her colors are bright, bold, colorful and sunny; her style ranges from expressionism-abstract to figurative-revisited, maintaining a constant freedom of expression over time.
She has exhibited in Italy and since 2018 has some collectors in United States.
In 2008 she finally has a large and bright atelier to work in; and where occasionally, it's possible to accomodate up to four people and indipendently see the works on display.


In-depth biography

My recent arworks includes abstract expressionistic art -surrealist - conceptual- figurative art, full of lively and sunny colours, with poetic references, literary and musical.

I find it difficult to define my art in a single style.
I have never loved labels, limits and particularly the taboos.
An artist cannot feel trapped.
Over the years, I still continue to research and experiment with the same spirit of the beginnings; and now also with a deeper psychic awareness, regarding creativity: 'Keeping the creative current clear' (C.P. Estés), with honesty, of course.

The subject matter of my work is often poetry and literature, that inspire me to represent, in different ways, some poetic compositions; but also songs, words, quotations, everything which captures me in one casual moment.

My themes are love, nature, feelings, sensations, thoughts.

It leads me to a certain libertarian spirit, that aside from reflecting my indole, it  born from the passion for Surrealism, understood as a philosophy of life: "poetry, art, love...the surrealist  game...the principle of pleasure on reality..." (Arturo Schwarz, Milano, 2009).

Reading A. Schwarz, I noticed that the artists I had always loved, all had a common thread leading to Surrealism.

 I love G. Apollinaire; it was ten years that I wanted to represent her poetry: "La Jolie Rousse"and is finally among the recent paintings of '17..." Apollinaire is among the forerunners of Surrealism"; I have deepened for a long time and loved most of all J. Mirò, beyond the work, even life, daily life, ..."Mirò is the most surrealist of surrealists"; I have been concentrating passionately on the work of artists, taken individually and for  long time, and they are:

G. Moreau, Kandinsky, Chagall, Duchamp "They are all among the precursors of the Surrealism".


 I like about the words of A. Schwarz when he says: "From Surrealism does not go back; with Surrealism something has happened forever".

I express myself in different ways, as painting lotus leaves, in a plastic form, with oil colour; painting on large canvas portraits; representing a surrealistic poetry with dream images, a bit abstract a bit ricognizable shape.


 I also like silk and make many collages with it, in mixed media; or even to create real "talking cushions" in silk, like art objects that hide their sense in a literary story, to be discovered, inside them, just like" surrealistic game".

I also like inks and water colours, used in informal style, but always representing a theme, a title, a wrote word, one formal element at least. 

I think my artwork as something of contemporary, I'm interested in technology, new expressive ways in general; I like experimenting and I'm curious  by nature.

 I think that an artist must express their time.

My works are in private collections in New York, Manhattan, Bedford, in Massachussets, in  France, in Italy in Firenze, Correggio, Carpi and public collections in Municipality of Fiorano Modena, Carpi Ramazzini Hospital, factory Icam  Soliera Modena.

Finally I would like to celebrate -beauty- in art, by quoting the artist's work Patrick Mimran that in '07 with his famous "Billboard", the big billboards appeared on the streets of the metropolis, struck me and in particular with a work, I wanted to take:

"Art doesn't have to be ugly to look clever


I didn't follow a formal course in artistic training, even though my passion had already emerged in adolescence, at the age of 15, at the same time, to a school of economy, I have started  with a mixture of different experiences, in private schools studying: piano, art history, live drawing, oil paint, conferences cycles in modern art, helding by art critics.

 Also I traveled to find out the Etruscan an Roman archaeological sites in Italy, as well as the most important  art museums in Italy, and in Europe: in Paris, London and Amsterdam. 


Chronology and descriptions

Poetry and literature are the hallmarks l’ve maintained during the years. They have inspired me to represent in different ways some poetic compositions.
My use of poetry quoting began with the poet Mario Luzi in the representation of his poems in an oil painting and in water-colour (1989).

In my first personal exhibit in Florence l created an installation of banana leaves, quoting Caliban, from Shakespeare’s Storm (1992). In that same period l did water-colours of poems from the poets:  A. Negri, V. Cardarelli and S. Mallarmè.
More recently, my poetic quotations on silk panels are of  W. Shakespeare, G.G. Byron, G. Ungaretti, the Odyssey and F.G. Lorca (2010-2012).

A second hallmark that l have maintained through the years has been the experimentation and the adventure into and through paths working  with various materials as in the use of petals, flowers and leaves on different materials: the first  tests were done on large tropical Alocasia and Banana leaves and then the composition on paper of the - Artist’s Book – (1991-95)

'Un Libro da Appendere'

Later, in a long series, l worked  on large lotus leaves  shaped like sculptures and oil paintings respecting  the natural interweaving  leaf venation 1993-’94.

I worked with writing, matter painting and sewing all on colourful  patterned silk fabrics creating paintings of silk, in numerous and still continuous cycles (2010-’12).

In the same period I created  the Talking-Cushions. Five surrealist objects, real cushions, even to hang,  sewn in multi-coloured  silk, which represent passages from the famous book:  -The Rivers Ran East- Leonard Clark, 1954 New York.

An autobiography of the 1946 exploratory  expedition of an area of the Amazon, “ El Dorado “. 

The narration is so wonderful and spine-chilling which is as clear as the author has been overwhelmed by the magnificence of the amazon nature, while facing a nightmare in a green hell.

(Despite his, because the true purpose of exploration for military and political purposes remains controversial).

I've been searching for other literary sources on amazon explorations, but I did not find this natural abduction, in any other.

So this abduction has infected me and I wanted to interpret it in an art form:

Each cushion, interpreted and worked as a silk collage, contains literary quotations  intentionally hidden inside it.

A word invites you to its discovery  (with a clear reference to the much loved, Alice in Wonderland),  once found, the quote is handwritten  on crisp silk of taffetà, able to remain suspended like a cloud (2010).

Later on I wanted to experiment  with digital technology by  transforming lotus leaves into enlarged photographs, allowing one to gaze at countless vegetation paths, which were initially traced out and painted with the idea of envisaging a real natural complete immersion (2008).

At this point it might seem that I travel the world, to exotic and distant places: I would like to reveal that I don't have the habit of traveling, the means of transport disturb me, while I need my comfort. 


 I have traveled quite a lot in the past, only in Europe, but just  enough to satisfy the traveler's anxiety of discovery.

 Anyway I don't like at disassembling or disturbing these my 'Travelling Without Moving' with a true- travel-with-suitcase.

(To quote a symbolic and beautiful piece of music by Jamiroquai, which made history).

With ceramics in 2012, l have designed five large classical Greek ceramic pots, blue, red, orange, yellow and green.

My research has dealt with the study of Colours, to celebrate this, the most important colours of antiquity, the myth, their mesmerizing  beauty and the archaeological  value.


Once again, I quoted a poem regarding each particular colour, which became the heart of the work (2012).

In '15 I've restarted the passion of oil paintings on large canvas; then finally after ten years of waiting, I realized theproject of paintings inspired to Grand Tour of the end of nineteenth century, through the captured images, in Italy, by russian landscapers.


In '16-'17 I started a new series of paintings on leather-cardboard holder, with oil pastels and acrilic, using bright and dense colours: the themes are always the same, recurring: poems, lyrics of songs, thougts, traces tracks from "The Tempest" by Shakespeare, such as: "Ariel's song".

I believe that these recurring themes are mine that draw, and that they are not exhausted at all.

In 2017 I did a long series of artwork on paper as collages, with oil pastels, acrilic, ink; one time again, some of them are dedicated to "Alice in Wonderland", that together with 'The  Storm', they must be mines, not yet exhausted, to which I often return.

I have restarted the passion for make painting with silk, this time making bolder artworks, compared to the first of '10; there are some inspired by C. Baudelaire from. "Les Fleurs du mal".  

In 2020-21 I started oil paintings on canvas, large in size, larger than those done so far, returning to the predilection for oil colors, as well as a figurative interest to be revisited and renewed.

At the same time I still work on silk, woven in multicolored geometric stripes , were a canvas, writing and painting contents of both intense and ironic genres.

In particular, in February 2021 I started a cycle of works on silk that can be defined as - Of the Exhortations- with different intentions than in the past: I'd say with less reverence and more ease, towards the brash and iridescent beauty of the silk, favoring the sense of the words, written above it.

Texts and words, many words; while the images are offered, already predefined by industrial prints on fabrics, geometric, patterned, or translucent luminescent white.

So our world is hyper visual and although I am a visual artist, I have enough of an invasion of images, of noises, little events and little informations, to put it in the words of Gillo Dorfles of 'Horror Pleni'.

I want a break; to read, think, reflect, in particular on words; also.



My artworks are in private collections in New York, Manhattan, Bedford, in Massachussets, in France, in Italy, Firenze, Correggio- Reggio E., Carpi, in public collections in Municipality of Fiorano-Modena, in Ramazzini Hospital Carpi, in company Icam of Soliera-Modena.

Artworks are exibited in Firenze, Mantova, Carpi.                Online are in Saatchi Art,

2018 september - la vigna atelier Carpi Modena                                            exhibition of painting and sculpture                                                    Mara Montanari e Carlo Vellani

            - Eschilo al Globe - 

'14-'18 Open Studio, Carpi Modena, Italia

'14-'15-'16-'17 la vigna atelier, permanent exhibit with                              hospitality for one reservation at a time, which includes                 up to four people, reviews un atelier                d'arte fiori e privacy

2014 Saatchi Gallery, Los Angeles, featured in a collection

          curated by Bridget Carron -Inspired by Impressionism-

          with oil on canvas - The Elder Tree -

2013 Saatchi Gallery, London, featured in a collection exhibit in

          loop screen with painting-photography of lotus leaf

          - From Volcano to Butterfly -

2012 Open Studio, Carpi Modena, Italy

           exhibit of recent works at la vigna atelier

2010 commission by Icam-Inox company, Soliera-Modena

2008 opening Studio of la vigna atelier

2002 commission by Ospedale di Carpi, Ostetricia

1998 personal exhibit at the Banca Popolare E.R., piazza

           Martiri, Carpi

1997 exposition -ante d'artista- under the colonnades of the

          historic centre of Carpi, organised by group Edonè

1997 exposition of paintings - artis arbor - in piazza Erbe,


1997 exposition -un libro da appendere - organised by atelier

          arti visive Ducale Mantova

1997 exposition -artisti a milioni- sala ganci, organised by the

          municipality of Carpi

1997 exposition with the group Edonè of paintings, sculpture,

          photography at gallerie di vetrine Duomo, Carpi

1996 exposition -artists for Mantova- works of small size 11x11 

          cm, organized by atelier arti visive Ducale Mantova

 1996 exposition with the group Edonè at - a garden for art - in

           the garden of Pretura di Carpi

1995 partecipation at primo premio Trevi Flash Art Museum

1992 personal exhibit at galleria Teorema, v.del Corso, Firenze

1989 1st prize at the 12th Biennale d'arte, Fiorano-Modena


Il girasole
Mara Montanari