Tag Archives: think

When Frou-Frou Whimsy Meets the Metaphysical

16 May


Miss Calascione’s work is at turns fantastic, frightening, distasteful and almost unbelievably graceful. She melds a masterful knowledge of the symbolism of Freudian and Jungian psychology in the best Surrealist style with luminescent, dainty figures whose initial Rococo vanity mask the deeper meaning of the works. These paintings are stories which, though they may be snapshots,  create a compelling atmosphere of a world like our own, but where our desires and thoughts have shapes and bodies outside of our minds.

Calascione draws her subjects from classical mythology, fairy tales, psychological archetypes and from her own, highly imaginative, mind. There is something disquieting about many of her works, such as Rapunzil, which features a half man-half bird perched on the  eponymous lady’s window, playing a tune. We see the notes riding a musical staff over to her as she sits in a chair, holding scissors, her long hair flowing around her and looking up to the ceiling in an attitude of longing and anguish. However, this Rapunzel is not simply a beautiful maiden. She also happens to have cat ears, claws, fangs and large, green cat’s eyes. To see such human feeling, such deep depression, frustration  and longing displayed in such completely inhuman eyes is unsettling.  The scissors she holds are beginning to cut off a lock of her long hair- could the painting be about changing oneself to fit into society, but always being painfully aware of your true nature and your entrapment within it? It’s one of many, many possibilities, which is what makes Calascione’s work so fun.

The artist’s works and messages are certainly mysterious, but they are a truly lovely mystery. For people who enjoy erudite references and odd symbolism, her paintings are a gold-mine. Calascione’s works may not have any certain answers, but they make you think and think hard. In the end, what else is art supposed to do?