Amanda Joy Calobrisi Efflorescence
Amanda Joy Calobrisi began painting on her own in a dreary basement apartment in Boston armed with only four tubes of oil paint yellow, blue, red and white and a few photographs she had taken of herself. Today we can see her "self portraits" in front of blistering pink and acerbic yellow color fields. The complexity of her pallet almost makes the sitters in her paintings secondary. Once banded on the canvas the portraits deviate from their original photographic state and take up their own lives in paint. In the "Untitled" make-up paintings, the facial ornamentations are bird-like, reminiscent of delicate tribal tattooing, or beautifully smeared war paint. As I consider the dramatic adornment of these faces I am transformed into the mirror the artist must have gazed into as she made up her face.
"I compose the shots and pose as the model for my paintings and yet, the people in my finished works are not me. These people are strangers to me, they are emotionally indulgent; they wear their hearts on their sleeves- they are lost in daydreams, playfully biding their time waiting for something to happen. Tied up in the drama of their worlds, they have become so used to performing that they only vaguely acknowledge that they are being watched. They look past us, away or close their eyes in order to avoid eye contact." (Amanda Joy Calobrisi)
The backgrounds of other paintings are covered with vivid floral patterns but it is still the physiognomy of the artist that we recognize in the foreground. She poses with her cat which tries to escape from her embrace. Girl with cat; a sweet and timeless image recreated by numerous artists through out history, a metaphor of innocence and at the same time a subtle promise of future erotic life. In these paintings Amanda Joy Calobrisi combines clashing patterns which would in any other case provoke a disharmonic mess: Striped skirt, flowered shirt, bold ornate wallpaper. Much like French artist Henri Matisse's odalisques paintings or even more so in the painting "Harmony in Red" (1908), dissonant patterns meld into a unified harmonic entity. In her work Amanda Joy Calobrisi deploys a bright and colorful universe, fresh and new, with visible references to recent art history. On first blush these works suggest "Joie de Vivre", but don't be fooled, something more complex lurks beneath this joyful exterior. Could a starker reality be hidden behind the greasepaint and avoidant gazes? Amanda Joy Calobrisi's work invites you to experience pleasure that hints at the tension and chaos of the dramatic play of life.
Amanda Joy Calobrisi was born on January 22nd 1978 to a single mom who found the experience of her arrival "full of joy" enough so that it became the child's middle name. Raised in various apartments in White Plains New York. She played in parking lots, rescued baby birds, made foreign language picture dictionaries and occasionally got in trouble for writing curse words on walls. She devoted herself to helping care for her little sister and various down on their luck kittens. She graduated high school by the skin of her teeth. Her undergraduate studies began with psychology but finished with a B.A in Art from the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She completed a Post Baccalaureate degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston in 2005 and obtained a MFA degree in 2008 from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago's Painting and Drawing department.