osephine Coniglio > context

In a portrait, is the person knowable by making a painting of someone or by studying the image captured by an artist?  If psyche is revealed, whose?  Perhaps the viewer supplies what glimpse of soul there may be. Art history is loaded with great portraits.  Elegance, angst, torture, subliminal beauty and humor.  Edgar Degas. Lucien Freud,   Oscar Kokoschka. Alice Neel, David Hockney, Susan Hauptman. David's Death of Marat is a most silent epic. The list is long and on it grows.


Iconography  is embodied in our art and commerce, cultures and religions.  Hieroglyphics, allegorical symbol, pop icons, even road signs are emblematic and have been used with great imagination to enlighten and intimidate.  The prevalence of symbology on the web illustrates the continuing usefullness of  graphic communication.  One of my interests is recombining and twisting the meaning of ordinary objects and body parts, such as the hand, into contemporary signals.



My swimming pool paintings are figurative, representational and emblematic, employing honed observation and drawing skills while utilizing the camera and computer as intermediary tools. Oil is my favored medium; it facilitates layering transparent color, transmuting light into tangible form.  The image acts as conduit between reality and metaphor.

Throughout art history and metaphysics, there is a continuum of tapping into the subconscious through art.  The element of water is a powerful symbol - the source of life and the collective unconscious.  In religious symbology, water represents spirituality, cleansing, sustenance and renewal.  Water embodies both physical and philosophical implications.  Amniotic bath of the unborn to the depths of the ocean, we are surrounded.  Immersed in quiet space and liquid color, the transformative power of water is compelling.

The swimming pool, a man made construct, functions as a metaphor for meditative sanctuary.  A figure submerged conjures new awareness and shifts paradigm, forming a fresh conceptual framework for how we relate to the perceived world.  From underwater, the world is different, idiosyncratic and original.  Surface tension ripples with movement.  Sunlight radiates through, creating peculiar patterns and distorted reflections.  The aesthetics of this painted image reinforces poetic and intuitive response.  The psyche seeks calm to balance turmoil; nature demands regeneration.  These pool paintings intimate an essential need for renewal.

The notion of the Gaze as directed toward a seductive form implicates painting as spectacle, like in theatre or sports. Yet baseball is associated with athleticism and virility. Substituting stage for field, it is co-opted in my work. Draped in red silk, this subliminal fetish is transformed using luminous layers of paint into a feminine erotic odalisque.

The vanitas genre is also intended. Baseballs in various states of decay remind us of our mortality as do flowers, burning candles, skulls and other symbolic objects within historical context of vanitas painting tradition.