Álvaro Toledo’s paintings are realist, but not in the traditional way. As the writer Francisco Calvo Serraller states ‘Álvaro Toledo’s artwork owes to what is known today as optical realism in Dutch painting of the second half of the 17th century specifically to Vermeer, who was fascinated by the effects of light’. In addition A. Toledo’s approach to composing spaces and finding perspectives would be unthinkable without the contributions of the 20th century avant-garde art and architecture and contemporary photography.
This painter looks and represents the light cast on objects by underlining some of their most surprising qualities. A light that changes as the day evolves, enlivening the space with its thousands of hues. By using the chiaroscuro technique in both his oil paintings and charcoal drawings the artist outlines the main elements of the scene and reinforces some dramatic effects. According to Calvo Serraller, the objects, which the artist places stage-like, act as ‘developers’ of light. To achieve this A. Toledo utilises his skills with colour to obtain an almost real representation and at the same time to emphasise some elements which allow him to create a visual route within the painting.
The architectural background is essential to his artwork, be it a setting for his compositions or to enable him to look at the scene from high above or inclined, even through forced perspectives offering unusual views. Architecture retains the main role in his outstanding production of urban landscapes both in oil and charcoal. In this genre A. Toledo applies the same pictorial principles as the ones seen in his still lifes and compositions. However, in the former he surprises the spectator with aerial views of a big metropolis, fragments of contemporary landmark buildings as well as of vistas of English, American cities and those of Barcelona and Madrid taken from windows and balconies.
Toledo has been exhibiting for more than 25 years, presenting his artwork in prestigious art galleries in Spain and abroad as well as in institutions and museums. He has received many awards and well known authors and art critics have written about his creations.