ARTS & COLLECTIBLES
ARTS & COLLECTIBLES

FLOWER POWER

Florida-based artist Carol Calicchio creates kaleidoscopic paintings that evoke joy of the natural world

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Photo by Laura Pedrick

 

I t’s tempting to think that Florida-based artist Carol Calicchio sees the world through technicolor glasses. On her enormous canvases, tropical flowers explode in a constellation of psychedelic color; the unmistakable form of a hammerhead shark emerges from Pollock-Esque drips of vermillion red and white roses dance against a background of swirling pinks. One thing is certain—Calicchio possesses the rare talent of being able to evoke the ephemeral beauty of the natural world through simple, evocative gestures of paint on canvas.

 

Born in Fairfield County, Connecticut, Calicchio can trace her passion for art to her creative family and the encouragement she received in early education. Driven by a desire to transform her creativity into a career, she earned a degree from the New York School of Interior Design and then went on to study painting and drawing at the School of Visual Arts. There Calicchio realized that her main passion was to create her own art rather than adorn interiors with the work of others. Soon after, she discovered a passion for florals that continues to define her creative output.

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Galaxy of Love, 48” x 48”

Alluring Light, 48” x 36”

“Carol Calicchio follows an honorable tradition of painters who found creative inspiration through interpreting the natural aesthetic values of colorful flowers. From Monet, Matisse, Klimt, Van Gogh, and Emil Nolde to celebrated female painters Georgia O’Keeffe, Rachel Ruysch, and Judith Leyster, Calicchio shares an appreciative common denominator of vision and inventiveness. She has developed an idiosyncratic style that often presents a lively composition that is reminiscent of bursting fireworks on the Fourth of July. In these arrangements, flower shapes take on their own personality as they “light up” the canvas with memorable, expansive, expressionistic brushstrokes—Flower Power has a new dimension.” — Bruce Helander, quite possibly the most famous living collage artist in America. His work appears in more than 50 museum collections, including the Whitney Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Captain’s Dream, 60” x 48"

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Energy, oil on canvas, 48” x 36”

Today, Calicchio lives in Delray Beach, Florida, and her work is characterized by an uninhibited use of color to depict vibrant flowers, jewel-like hummingbirds, and majestic sea life. “Nature is just amazing with complementary colors, and natural light is a limitless spectrum of color,” says the artist. “Everything it touches is illuminated in brilliance and brought to life. My abstractions aim to interpret this powerful force of nature.”

There is, however, more to each piece than a celebration of the wild colors of the natural world. “Each one tells a story,” Calicchio explains. Take, for example, a recent painting, aptly named Celestial Seasons—one of her favorites—that depicts a tiny baby bluejay and tells the story of when the artist found the baby bird in her garden. In the morning, she heard the bird’s parents calling out from outside her living room, and she released the tiny bird back to them.

“I was so touched by the fact that the parents waited, and they believed their baby was alive,” she recalls. “Every painting has a story like that, where something very emotional that has touched me is in that painting.”

 www.carolcalicchioart.com