Austrian-American painter Tina Blondell was born in Salzburg, Austria, to an American father and austrian mother who encouraged her early interest in art. Crucial to her education as an artist, was her first-hand encounters with art in Italy, where she lived until 1971, particularly the work of Caravaggio and of Artemisia Gentileschi.
Other influences are Goya, Francis Bacon and Alice Neel; whose paintings combine an emotional impact with a vision of the human condition. Blondell’s involvement with earlier art informed both her technique and interest in narrative, and her quoting of images from the history of art in this painter’s decidedly contemporary work. In the mid 1990s, Blondell settled in Minneapolis, where she continues to live. Blondell has exhibited her work widely both nationally and internationally. Her work is in many private and public collections including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Weisman Art Museum.
The current body of work retells the stories of women, mythical and biblical, real and imagined. These archetypal images enquire into the essence of human experience revealed in feminine form. The watercolor paintings had their origin in the personal experience of realizing the ways that life transforms us. The artists own realization of how she had been marked by events and emotions became clear in her identification with the fragile and fearless figures that emerged from her imagination. Through the creative process, pain had been transformed into beauty. What began as an inward, healing process moved outward to reclaim the history of images of the feminine, ranging from the prehistoric Venus of Willendorf to present-day women who embody the energy of their female antecedents. They all have chosen a path of exposure of both their outward identities and their inner selves. For these women, the depth of their experiences has reached the surface, symbolically in the form of the motifs that cover their skin. The tattoo lattice sometimes extends to the children the women hold, as an imprinting of the memory of ancestral female power.The process of creating these images begins with a concept, first visualized, then realized through finding the right model, props, and lightingwith photographs used as an aid. These paintings depict real women, not idealized images, so that each models real beauty is reflected back through the work. The completing of a painting is a labor-intensive process that can take many weeks. These works embody a paradox: while rendering strong imagery, the delicacy of watercolor conveys the psychic openness of the whole process. Recent paintings in oil strive to realistically capture the human form, seeing in the lives of contemporary women an abiding spirit. When the work, very personal in its development, is finished, it is ready to be shared. These paintings are a form of visual storytelling and they welcome the strong and involved reactions of viewers. This work speaks directly from the soul of the artist and invites viewers to enter into in its transformative nature. | John Mendelsohn NYC, 2006