Erica Calardo

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Erica Calardo


I am an Italian figurative painter bringing old masters’ techniques into a lyrical, symbolic, and oneiric contemporary vision influenced by art nouveau. 


I paint figures of rarefact bauty, eery and oneiric in their naked nature, floating between worlds. I represent possible worlds semantics (the main topic of my doctoral thesis in mathematical logic) in a narrative and figurative scenario. I play with the concept of identity through different worlds. I see my paintings as representing a congealed moment in time, just before a choice is made, on the verge of something that is about to happen. There is always a “here” and a “there”, co-existing in a surreal setting. The duality of dream and reality produce a constant dialogue. 

The role of women is crucial. In my paintings there are echoes of the myth of the Potnia, the Magna Mater. I paint empowered women who enshrine and embody the misteries of life. They are creatures living in myths and fairytales, who silently let you glimpse at their story.

I have eclectic interests, ranging from philosophy to literature, mathematics, and music. I graduated in philosophy and I got a phd in mathematical logic. My symbolic paintings can be read on many levels, mirroring my studies and interests. I may find inspiration in my dreams, in novels, or in pieces of music I get obsessed with. La vida es sueño – Life is but a dream. Sometimes I start painting without a specific idea and I see symbols I cannot understand appearing. Other times I start with a specific idea in my mind and I set to analyse the symbology to conceive my thoughts. 

My style is deeply influenced by Italian artistic path and I aim at fusing the Mannerist lesson with Art Nouveau and Academic style. I am willing to bring the old masters’ technical skills in our time. I make a devote reasearch both on books, and in museums in order to understand how those skilled artists achieved their magic. I try to reproduce their methodology. I am also concentrated into finding the best tools to achieve my goal. I work with materials as close as possible to those used by the old masters. I keep experimenting, in the constant effort to improve my skills. 

I am mostly self taught, although I attended classes at the Florence Academy of Art. The living master who shaped my skills the most is my teacher Roberto Ferri, with whom I attended classes and workshops during the past years.

I worship Beauty. We need to find refuge from our ugly and weird times in the elevating power of Art. We need figurative paintings to be a constant reminder of what humanity can achieve, the high ideals we are capable of, the dreams we can behold. My art does not want to be a mere reflection of our times, but rather a distorted mirror that gives back an ideal, yet attainable, image of our nature.

* This statement has been provided directly by the artist in association to their 16th International ARC Salon entries. This content has not been edited for typos or grammatical errors and has not been vetted for accuracy.