Discipline: Visual Art – painting

Kristin Calabrese

Discipline: Visual Art – painting
Region: California
MacDowell fellowships: Fall 2014

As an artist, I'm interested in the truth. I realize the truth is subjective, so I'm interested in telling the truth from my perspective. Most of my paintings are about more than one thing. I usually discover the meaning of the painting either while I'm making it or much later, and think that usually the painting has a message for me that I hadn’t anticipated in it’s initial conception.

I believe in some sort of translation of the life force into the object of the painting. Rather than being a window or a mirror, I strive to make an object that feels like a presence, even if the viewer is blindfolded.

I'm also really interested in the flatness of the picture plane -- whether or not there's the illusion of space on the canvas, the truth is it's colored areas placed next to each other on a flat surface -- that are actually stacked up on top of each other given the normal orientation of a painting hanging on the wall. I get lucky when abstract composition reads distinctly at the same time as (and often in opposition to) painted imagery.

I started painting seriously in the late 1980s. One of the main motivations for painting initially, was that I wanted to visually communicate to other people like me (misfits) and tell them they weren't alone like I wished someone would have done for me. My relationship with painting has changed over the years, becoming something my life is organized around. Painting really gives back. Each painting leads to another painting and back into other paintings and forwards to more new paintings. It makes for a very rich inner life expressed on the outside.