Danielle Festa Conceptual Realist


Danielle painting in her studioFirst with a camera, then with oil paint and fabric, I define the personas of my subjects as they are perceived by onlookers.  I let the material embrace and overwhelm the characters I create as they become preserved in their attire. I have been continually inspired to tell tales of entrapment, showing how fabric has the power to dictate our personalities in an instant.  By incorporating an unexpected element of cloth, I am calling attention to the ability of a specific article to define my subject’s identity.

In each painting, I experiment with the transition between paint and fabric, allowing my subjects to transform into the characters I create. I like for viewers to enter through the comfort of realism, and then allow the distraction of material to lead them towards my concept. Avoiding blatant conceptual announcements, I prefer for viewers to experience the journey of their own interpretation of my vision.

Another reason for my marrying unconventional mediums is to tinker with viewers’ perceptions. Sometimes the elements of mixed media announce their presence first, but other times the fabric is subtly transitioned with the paint, demanding a second look. Through cuts and hems, hand sewing and gluing, my goal is to make the process a smooth integration.

There are many factors that contribute to perceptions of dress, deriving both from the individual’s choice and the viewer’s preconception. The endless combinations of these variables are what keep me exploring my theme.

Caelum Gallery, NYC

Recently I have begun drawing both from subjects that are strangers to me and from those who are very close to me. This juxtaposition allows me to be both another judgmental outsider in some cases, and in others, someone who knows well that the subject’s personality can rarely be defined by his or her projected image. Based on real moments in the lives of my subjects, I work to call attention to the importance we put on clothing. I want onlookers to experience the independent choices, the religious mandates and the social constructs that influence both what we wear and how we view others.





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