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Jeanne Ciravolo

Jeanne Ciravolo’s mixed media work explores family narratives, amplifying female experience–while challenging art historical depictions of women.

Raised in Miami, Florida, Ciravolo moved to New York City, where her early work was influenced by her experiences as class monitor for Harvey Dinnerstein at the Art Students’ League of New York. In 2006, she was one of eleven finalists in the Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition. At that time, Ciravolo’s observational art practice supported her work as a commissioned portrait painter. Her portrait of Connecticut Supreme Court Justice David Borden was unveiled at the Appellate Court in Hartford, Connecticut in 2016.

Honoring the personal histories of domestic trauma endured by her mother and grandmother, painter Jeanne Ciravolo shapes her artistic practice around the female figure’s art historical representation, integrating methods of material and psychological repair. The figure of woman in her paintings, mixed-media and collage works exorcises art historical representations of female deference, sexualization and violation through the incorporation of other icons of female power, such as the grotesque and mysterious figurative carving type known as sheela na gig. Her critique of feminine comportment embraces non-idealized representations of the female figure and queries what makes women becoming in appearance, and what undoes women as humans. I admired her commitment to acknowledging the experience of personal trauma and domestic violence without reproducing or spectacularizing its effects. As a Walter Feldman Fellow in 2020, she would benefit from a solo presentation to structure her exploration of methods of decoupage, stitching, print and transfer in painting. Future conversations with colleagues and critics will shape her interest in honoring memories of personal violence in search of resolution, as well as her desire to speak to broader communal narratives. Jeanne’s use of unconventional materials—such as kitchen towels and unstretched dropcloth canvases—introduces challenging surfaces and structures for her figurative painting practice to take new forms.” — Ellen Tani, ICA Boston

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