Christine Cardellino


Hansel and Gretel, acrylic/mixed media on canvas, 38″ x 34″, 2016


Sleeping Beauty
, acrylic on canvas, 40″ x 24″, 2016

Snow White and the Seven Deadly Sins, acrylic and collage on canvas, 48″ x 36″, 2017

Red Riding Hood, acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 24″, 2016

Rapunzel, acrylic and collage on canvas, 36″ x 30″, 2016

Alice in Wonderland, acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 30″, 2016

The Fisherman and His Wife, acrylic on canvas, 52′ x 28″, 2017

Artist Statement

For a very long time, my paintings have suggested narratives, whether or not intentional. In my current series of works, I embrace storytelling wholeheartedly. Initially, I found inspiration in fairy tales but my scope has enlarged to include folklore and other fantasies. Reading and contemplating these stories, I look for themes that can set a painting in motion. You might say that I take the ball and run with it, allowing the paint and my imagination to carry me forward. I hope that the results foster an examination of what is often called — I can think of no better term — the “human condition.”

I have a passion for paint and a great deal of faith that, in it and through it, something deeply meaningful can emerge. I am fascinated by the way a visual image can put multiple ideas in play. Underlying all my work are themes having to do with the very human need to make sense of one’s world. Appreciating the complexities of the human experience — at once enchanting and confounding — I avoid pinning down ideas or allowing a straightforward reading of an image. As a consequence, my artwork is often multi-layered or polysemic. I know that a painting is successful when it is engaging enough to raise questions for viewers and stimulate their imagination.

Acrylic is my primary medium but I do supplement it with other media, such as collage, water-soluble crayon, ink, or photo transfers. When I start a piece, I never have a pre-conceived notion about its final state, and I tend to find, lose, and shift as I feel my way along. Cues and clues arise as the painting takes on a life of its own.

A Note About ‘The Fisherman and his Wife’

This painting has garnered much attention. People refer to it as the “Trump painting”, and I am at pains to point out its proper title and the fact that it was inspired by the fairy tale of the same name, which is included in the collection of the Brothers Grimm.

In the story, a fisherman catches a magic fish that grants him wishes. The poor man desires only a snug cottage to replace the hovel he shares with his wife; however, his wife has other ideas, and he asks the fish again and again to fulfill her increasing, egotistic demands. In the painting, the fish emerges from a sea of ballots.

This was one of the first tales to capture my attention but I couldn’t figure out how to use it until after the election. Obviously, the painting expresses my deep concern about Donald Trump but it is by no means a simple political rant. The fairy tale informs the painting. 

About the Artist

Christine Cardellino is a member of the Baby Boom generation, born into a loving family and raised in Westchester County, just north of New York City. She is the eldest of three girls. A graduate of Douglass College (Rutgers University), she was married to an Air Force officer and lived in a number of locations in the United States, as well as six years in Germany, before moving to Virginia. She and her two sons and their families still live in the Washington, D.C., region.

Christine Cardellino found a place in art belatedly. Growing up, she considered Art a magical realm, quite beyond her, although she did become absorbed with drawing for brief periods and on her own. In Germany, however, she joined other officers’ wives in art classes taught by an elderly German artist, and it was in those classes that she discovered her passion, indulging it in the years that followed, including two decades during which she pursued a career in physical therapy. She has been involved actively with the Art League in Alexandria, Virginia, where she was fortunate to have studied with a number of gifted artists.

Although Christine Cardellino’s early work featured landscapes painted in oil, she nurtured an interest in the figure, regularly attending life-drawing sessions. Returning to art after a hiatus of several years, she began to use acrylics to paint street and market scenes, many of which were inspired by her travels in Europe, Russia, Thailand, the Middle East, and South America; those paintings were recognized for their complex and dynamic arrangements of figures and for their strong sense of light, space, and immediacy. After joining an art theory class at the Art League and finding both the themes and the approach to painting that sustain her today, her work changed dramatically.

Christine Cardellino has exhibited extensively in juried and curated shows in the Washington, D.C., area. Her series Fabulous Menagerie was shown at Artists and Makers Studios, in Rockville, Maryland, in the October 2015 group show “Guise and Disguise”; and 34 of her FACES were displayed at the Community Foundation in Washington, D.C.  Plans for 2017 include her participation in Artomatic, March 24 – May 6 in Crystal City, Virginia.

Paintings by Christine Cardellino are in private, public, and corporate collections throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Reviewing her work, area critics cite Christine Cardellino’s sensitivity to the nuances of light and shadow and the sensuality of paint, her command of brush and medium, and her contributions, through her work, to the dialogue of painting.

Christine Cardellino maintains a studio at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, in Alexandria, Virginia, to which she warmly welcomes visitors.

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The Art League

Artomatic 

Artists and Makers Studios

Torpedo Factory Art Center