Amanda Albanese paints subjects of great intensity and power, but she does so with a closely controlled, gentle, almost subdued hand. Preferring soft edges to hard lines, and working in a muted and sometimes monochromatic color palette, her paintings conjure dream states that lead to unexpected conclusions. As she plays with perspective, time and space, she juxtaposes the brutal with the beautiful, resulting in compositions that subtly and expertly unsettle the viewer.
Old black-and-white photos and tintypes - or collages thereof - often provide the visual basis for Albanese’s paintings. Many of her latest paintings feature beautiful, smiling ‘50s style women whose presence dazzles; usually these women are painted in greyscale, and loom large next to smaller, less central subjects. The inherent power of womanhood is a clear focus; Albanese says she explores her personal identity, as well as universal feminine identity, through her work. But in the end, Albanese’s paintings are open-ended, directing the viewer to introspection, but never directly stating clear motives.
A Rhode Island native, Albanese comes from an artistic family; her own mother was a painter at one time, and encouraged creativity and discovery within the family. Albanese attended Flagler College in Florida, where she earned a B.A. in psychology and a B.F.A. in painting. She found that the two disciplines intertwined nicely, and that her body of knowledge in psychology served to inform her painting. After briefly coming back to Rhode Island, she moved to Brooklyn to study at the Pratt Institute, from which she received an M.F.A. with a focus in painting in 2009. Her thesis project mixed modern and antique imagery under the umbrella of a common neutral color palette, the faces of its faintly ominous subjects partially obscured or blurred.
A sense of yearning inhabits Albanese’s compositions; her subjects often seem to be in the midst of a deep and difficult search. Now back again in Rhode Island, Albanese herself is in the throes of an artistic quest to fully define her style and to continue to build a body of work. She loves the self-discipline of painting, including the process of being forced to commit to her vision and enjoying the healthy tension that is released upon satisfactory execution of a technique and idea. Getting her art out into the world is a priority these days: she’s shown at AS220 and at OneWay Gallery in Narragansett and Providence (unfortunately, the latter has recently closed). As she moves toward her goal of becoming more visible within the local and national art communities, the work ethic and artistic drive that have fed her idea cache thus far will prove to be crucially useful. It will be exciting to watch the art world embrace her capabilities and concepts.
Amanda Albanese can be reached at email@example.com.