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Christine Palamidessi presents a unique show of figurative female sculpture at Galatea Fine Arts in the center of Boston’s lively SOWA district. Palamidessi works both in her studio in Somerville, MA, as well as in the environs of Lecce, in Italy’s south. It is there that she became acquainted with the tradition of cartapesta, which utilizes paper to make church statuary mimicing marble sculpture.
The core of Palamidessi’s exhibit is a series of five foot high Vessels. They stand tall, solemn, curvaceous, and powerful. The glueless Italian paper that is made specifically for cartapesta, is a strong, defining element. In natural tones of umber, the layered strips help to define the caryatid-like shapes. Each of the eight vessels is distinctive in form and coloration, and a grouping resembles a grove of trees.
We are looking at ancient forms and wordless connections. Palamidessi speaks of the “persistence of time in figurative form, sharing what all humans have in common.” She imagines the soul pressing against the inside layer of skin and leaves a narrow “emergence seam” along one side of each headless Vessel, as an exit for the butterfly/soul. The forms reach upward yet are also grounded—a connection between realms of being.
Complementing these freestanding sculptures is a series of Vestals hung on the walls. Each is a singular creation using paper combined with mixed media and colored inks. The Whirlpool of Being is highly textured with gold and copper leaf in swirls around the breasts and belly, accented by linen threads and Swarovski crystals. It feels like a powerful talismanic breastplate. The Impressure of Nothingness into Something and Under the Conditions of Constriction and Convergence continue the metaphysical questions that Palamidessi poses both in her life and in her art.
Palamidessi is an experienced artist and writer. Her memoir “Grandmothers” is installed on a granite monolith in Jackson Square in Jamaica Plain (a neighborhood of
Boston), on the MBTA Orange Line. Galatea’s Vessels is its own artistic monolith to both the classical and modern woman—a true celebration of the persistence of cultural identity and modern evocations of feminine consciousness—alive and evolving.
Amore, B., “CHRISTINE PALAMIDESSI: FIGURES—VESSELS, VESTALS, ETUDES”, Art New England, Oct 3, 2022