Works
Overview

Dellamarie Parrilli began as a singer, but she turned to painting after illness prohibited her from continuing her vocal career. Her difficulties, though, have had positive consequences: she has been turning out exquisite paintings and watercolors for decades now. Her work, a particularly cheerful variant on abstract expressionism, looks to bright colors, often primary, that are merged in forms that are resolutely nonobjective. As a result, we can easily see the ties between her work and the early generations of abstract expressionism, which have influenced Parrilli in her demonstrations of a style that remains fresh, even after decades of precedent. How does the painter accomplish what she does? By merging an unusually fresh color sense with an equally unusual sense of abstracted form. Blues and reds and yellows and greens dominate her palette; muted earth colors are not part of her expressiveness. As for the forms, Parrilli is given to indeterminate organic shapes, often but not always, woven together by their physical similarity. Often the imagery can resemble flowers or parts of them; as a painter, Parrilli has incorporated the useful recognition that abstraction can in fact be closely connected to nature, the real world, a realization we find in the work of Gorky. We can only praise the intensity of the artist’s color scheme as well as the cohesive organization of work whose intuitive origins are very clear.

 

What can be said about the esthetic implications of work as lyrically dramatic as Parrilli’s? One thing we might mention is the newness of her visual phrasing, which, while based on earlier influences, also establishes a current vision of what lyric abstraction might be. In the sumptuous freedoms of her paintings, the artist looks to a previous time, in which it made sense to embark on a personalization of the impartial abstraction developed during the early years of the movement, in the early part of the 20th century. It is very difficult to separate words from their denotative meaning in writing, in poetry especially, but there is by now several generations of painters and sculptors who have freed the image from recognizable form. This is what happens in Parrilli’s art. The innate attractiveness of such a procedure may be, by now, slightly frayed by time, but Parrilli successfully makes use of an established language in ways that are resolutely new. This is accomplished by her willingness to experiment with intense tonalities of color, as well as an unusual sense of form, usually organic in expression. As a result, we note the creativity within Parrilli’s style is ongoing, even as it effortlessly expresses something new in its use of a brilliant palette and its original formulation of abstract shapings.

 

In the long run, an artist like Parrilli is to be recognized for her original reading of a tradition much in need of current change. Her luminescent sense of color may be understood as the most important part of her art; it is so strong an attribute of her work that it takes on a structural aspect, something most artists find hard to do. At the same time, we can see that her vocabulary of images looks to a natural world, floral in nature, in which the inherent abstraction evident in flowers, if we move in closely on the detail, the fragment, freed from the ties of realism becomes a subject in its own right. Thus, the strengths of an oeuvre such as Parrilli’s are based not only on purely nonobjective means; they are also found in the marvelous expressiveness of the external world. This means that Parrilli’s excitement with traditionally abstract imagery does not always derive from an isolation of color and form distant from specific meaningfulness, as happens in nature. Instead, her art looks to an implicit merger between individualized components of painting and the nearly excessive beauty of nature. As a result, we can praise the work as examples, not of a compromise, but a joining between different kinds of perception, brought about by the elements the artist makes such inspired use of…a considerable accomplishment.

 

Jonathan Goodman

Biography

Dellamarie Parrilli is an American artist, and a born master of her medium. A self-taught artist, her work is wide ranging, ever changing, and restlessly experimental; her abstract approach ranges from the geometric to the lyrical, from the precise to the raw. Parrilli is gifted with an unstoppable creativity, and brings a breath of fresh air to her artistic endeavours.

 

A restless and intrepid experimenter, it is Parrilli’s prior extensive background in music and dance that is reflected in her work. She has transformed her creativity for expression from the stage to the studio from her own unique perspective and introspective vision. 

 

She literally sings and dances on her canvases with a joie de vivre that she shares with us. One can’t help but marvel at the breath and depth of her painterly vocabulary – her freshness, virtuosity, vibrant colors, sumptuous paint surfaces, and innate musicality. Parrilli continues in the creative tradition of her artistic forbearers, Kandinsky, de Kooning, Pollock, Tobey, Mitchell and even early Rothko, but from her own unique perspective and introspective vision.

 

Human interest stories can be risky, even irrelevant, when it comes to evaluating the work of a serious painter. Thus one is tempted to skip over the fact that Parrilli, who was born in Chicago, turned to painting after a life threatening illness ended her promising career as an entertainer.  The triumphant spiritual resonance in Parrilli’s canvases is such that one feels compelled to at least mention such biographical facts. There is a commonly held belief in critics’ circles that true art is born out of human struggle.

 

Parrilli’s life has been marked by tragedy and adversity. Born three months premature, she began her life fighting to survive.  During her youth, Parrilli’s father was killed by a drunk driver, and three months later, her family, surviving a devastating house fire, were left homeless.  Parrilli, who was only 11 years old at the time, embraced her creativity and found her voice despite major adversity.

 

While earning a BA in music from DePaul University, Parrilli painted, studied tap, jazz and ballet, and Improv at Second City. After critically acclaimed performances in Las Vegas and Chicago Parrilli set her sights on Broadway, but fate stepped in. Diagnosed with Sjorgren’s Syndrome, doctors told her she would never sing again. Parrilli, a born survivor, still emerged from this devastating period, spirit strong, with her love of life undiminished, turning her voice to art. 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibitions
Bibliography

 

2009 Ed McCormack, Gallery & Studio, “Dellamarie Parrili’s Exquisitely Honed New Paintings”

2008 Ed McCormack, Gallery & Studio, “Parrilli’s “Reflections” Light Up Madison Avenue”

Nov 08

2007 Maurice Taplinger, Gallery & Studio, “Evocative Expressions Cork Gallery, Lincoln Center, New York

2006 Ann Landi, NY ARTS Magazine, International Edition, Nov/Dec 06

2004 Ed McCormack, “The Passion Of Dellamarie Parrilli At Marymount College”, Gallery & Studio 

2004 DePaul University Magazine, “Rave Review”, Winter 2004

2003 Time Warner Television, Manhattan Cable, “Wigren’s Crib”, May 29, Featured Award Winning Artist, Contemporary Masters Wall Of Honor, for “Manhattan Rhythm”,New York

2003 Jim Distasio, “The Miracle Of Art”, Fra Noi, May

2003 Art Acquisitor Magazine, Amsterdam Whitney International Fine Art Inc.,”Second Act”, March

2003 Time Warner Television, Manhattan Cable, “Wigren’s Crib”, April 3

2003 Carey Gordon, “Broadway Is My Beat”, International e-zine, April 

2003 Artist Profile, Manhattan Arts International e-zine 

2002 Byron Coleman, “At Cork Gallery, Diverse Styles In A Lively Dialogue”, Gallery & Studio, November 

2002  Cara Clinton, “An Artist of Healing”, Manhattan Arts International e-zine, December 2002 Laurie Casey, “Singer Finds a New Voice on Canvas”, Chicago Tribune 

2002 “Reflections”, Skyline, photo feature 

2002 Patrick Butler“, Artist Relishes Life’s Banquet”, Booster, cover page feature article, March

2002 Renée Phillips, Presentation Power Tools For Fine Artists, Third Edition 

2002 “Subscribers Success”, Success Now! The Artrepreneur Newsletter, November-December 

2002 “Subscribers Success”, Success Now! The Artrepreneur Newsletter, September-October