Christina Grace Mastrangelo (b. 1983) grew up in Western Massachusetts. Always fascinated by figurative painting, her passion first ignited during a visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum and was further cultivated in her adolescent years amidst travels to the Louvre and Vatican Museums. While pursuing her degree in Studio Art through the Honors College at James Madison University, Christina further developed her interests abroad, studying Humanism, Italian, and Art History at the British Institute in Florence, Italy. She painted and absorbed the abundance of art across Europe before graduating from JMU's Honors College in 2006. Immediately following graduation she returned to Florence to attend the rigorous drawing and painting program at the Angel Academy of Art. In 2009, after three years of training, she graduated and returned to the U.S. where she has been pursing her painting career ever since.

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An internationally recognized artist, Christina has shown at The European Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona, the Villa Bardini in Florence, and has had two solo shows in Florence as well as one at the D'Amour Museum of Fine Art in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her most recent awards were from the Art Renewal Center, Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America, and the Salmagundi Club. She is currently represented by the Guild of Boston Artists in Boston and Williams Fine Art Dealers in Wenham, Massachusetts.

Throughout the year, Christina spends her time painting and teaching between Florida and the Northeast. She gives Classical Realist workshops at the Cultural Center of Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida, the Academy of Realist Art in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Cheney Homestead Arts Mill Studio in Manchester, Connecticut. Christina also shares her techniques on Patreon through video demonstrations and mentorship. She is married to Nicholas McNally, artist and Assistant Professor of Illustration at Jacksonville University.

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Artist Statement

My main subjects are women. My female portraits aren't about superficial details- they're about the content of her gaze, how she holds herself, what she represents, what she's thinking. These women become symbols of character, of ourshared experiences and emotions, and that takes them away from the idea of the traditional portrait towards something to which we can connect. These are individuals, and yet more so they are paintings of conviction, introspection, curiosity, and awareness. I am interested in making paintings that speak to who we really are- not as seen by the male gaze, but from the gaze of a female artist compelled to change the dialogue around women in art history. As a whole, my work attempts to represent what I think is missing from the art world, and our lives in general.

Years of rigid European Classical Realist training, and the philosophy of beauty tied to that lineage, strongly influence my aesthetic. I aim to represent nature in a realistic style, but there is purposeful simplification and elimination in my renderings, an avoidance of the unnecessary. I am not interested in magnifying details- my depictions hover in the space of what we see when we are a few steps away, aware of the whole. The fine balance is struck by an intimacy and yet a distance, a reverence for the muse while showing her to the world.

My reoccurring themes speak to the dignity of mankind, our universal trials and triumphs, and spirituality in connection with ourselves, others, and nature. There is an old-world aspect to my work that also lingers as my newer work searches for what fits- what I hold dear, what will remain- in this finicky, contemporary world. Because of this, my painting ideas live with me for a long time before they ever make it to canvas. They become refined and distilled by time's natural contemplation, influence, and experience. One result of this has been the influx of blue-green that has taken over from my traditional black, place-less backgrounds. Sometimes as an ornamental flat pattern of leaves, other times as a backdrop to a figure, it is a step into my contemporary surroundings. Either way, there remains that purposeful "placelessness" that the original black backgrounds represented, simplified so the story revolves more around the inner-workings of the figures than anything else.

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