Gallery Bergelli

Biography

Jane Smaldone was born in New York City in 1953 and currently lives and works in the Boston area with her husband Mark and daughter Isabel, who has become one of her favorite subjects. She attended the State University of New York and attained her BFA in painting from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1976.

Smaldone's paintings combine her long-standing interest in landscape, still life and portraiture, interweaving the genres in a personal style inspired by art historical traditions as diverse as Chinese landscape painting, Surrealism and Folk Art.

She says about her work, "The Flowers, portraits and landscapes that I have been working on are inspired in part by a dialogue between the real and the imagined. My subjects tend to be those important to my life and evocative for me in a visual, emotional or psychic way.

"I'm not interested in representation, but in transformation —transformation as it relates to past events, the perceived present and the imagined future. Painting is a process for me through which to explore the poetic nature of these transformations and a way to express the unseen forces on our lives."

Smaldone's work is included in many private, corporate and public collections internationally, including the Danforth Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum and Wellington Management. She has had numerous solo shows in the United States and Canada and participated in many group shows.

Artist Statement

" A dialogue between the real and the imagined inspires the flowers, portraits and landscapes that I have been working on. I'm often struck by how the two can merge or one becomes the other: My subjects tend to be those important to my life and evocative for me in a visual, emotional or psychic way.

"I'm not interested in representation, but in transformation. Transformation as it relates to past events, the perceived present and the imagined future.

"I tend to paint my daughter, Isabel, as larger than life. In a way she becomes a vessel for all my hopes, concerns and beliefs, not only for her, but for the larger world as well. Her transformation from a baby to sixteen years old has been truly remarkable. Painting is a process for me, through which to explore the poetic nature of these transformations and a way to express the unseen forces on our lives.

"I rarely work from sketches, preferring to start directly on the canvas and relying on images from my mind's eye and from memory. I like to allow the more unconscious elements to filter through and exist with the more intentional aspects of the work.

"Sometimes, I use photographs that I've taken for visual information that I will use in a composite way (hands, faces, trees, sky, etc). Color is extremely important to me in developing an idea and often generates a sense of place and purpose, and a way 'into' the painting." -- Jane Smaldone

I paint St. Lucy or Joan of Arc etc., with many faces and in different guises because the work, though inspired by the actual heroines - are meant to portray all women (and men too) cast in moments of introspection and doubt with the hope of illumination into the mysteries of their own hearts.

St. Lucy’s (of Sicily) story, mostly legend, but irresistible to me as a painter, is told as follows : In a dream, St. Agatha told Lucy that she had the power to cure her dying mother herself. Lucy did so. Encouraged by this miracle, Lucy gave away her possessions and pledged herself to her God, but in so doing angered her jilted pagan suitor to her own peril. According to one legend she plucks out her own eyes to give to him before he is to have her beheaded. (He had always admired them.) Lucy then grew a more beautiful pair in their place. I love this image as a metaphor for a true way of seeing the world. Her second sight seems to me a rebirth – a lighting of her path to a new meaning of her life and faith. Lucy’s name means light in Latin and she is the patroness of restored sight. When my daughter was a young girl, I told her about Joan of Arc because she loved stories about horses and princesses. I wanted her to know, that long ago a brave young girl on horseback led an army into battle for something that she believed in. She helped put a king on his throne and recued her beloved country (France) from invading enemy soldiers. I didn’t tell her how the very people she helped betrayed her in the end. Joan’s is a remarkable true story of a young girl’s courage and faith in herself , her voices and in her mission.

These spiritual heroines continue to inspire me because they were courageous enough to let the light in when they were surrounded by darkness.

Jane Smaldone


Jane Smaldone