Joanna Catalfo

Region: South

City / State: Torrington, CT

Since the mid 1990ís I have focused solely on creating still life paintings. My interest is enduring because of powerful questions still life confronts. A still life is selected and arranged by the artist. It refers to itself and to its creator, exploring and embodying the artificiality of art. This brings up questions fundamental to art makingóchoice, interpretation, invention, and notions of reality.

I have become increasingly interested in the effect that the deliberate choice of technique and materials has on my paintings. I work traditionally, beginning with a canvas that is prepared with an oil ground. I often work on a toned ground to heighten the effect of light and to influence colors. I build up images in many thin layers to achieve vivid color, to create subtle effects of light, and to suggest form.

Although the idea of illusion has long been tied to still life, my aim is not illusionism. I exploit the formal properties of shape, color and light for their expressive and aesthetic values. However, a sense of physical realism is important in exploring what it means to re-make reality. In the tradition of the great still life painters Willem Kalf, John Peto, and Edward Murch, I am interested in what still lifes can reveal about perception, about the experience of seeing, and about the paradoxes of making art. Within this tradition of still life I seek to reconfirm the power of painted images.