Christine Tonolini

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My work is an attempt at visualizing the connection between delicacy and strength. I want my art to be beautiful, reflecting the natural world. My titles support the expression of my works to reveal their meaning. 

 

These creative expressions are rooted in personal experiences, trauma, self-discovery, and forgiveness. The symbolism, their beauty, even the unfolding decay of flowers have always profoundly interested me. I relate to flowers as many do, finding their beauty intriguing, their cultivation challenging, and the irresistible delight of being around them. The way they burst from dirt and soil only to return there fascinates me. That they reach for light and grow in between cement cracks, that some have both a stamen and a pistil, that there are a myriad of shapes, colors, scents, and medicinal qualities, totally intrigue me. 

 

I've made flowers out of paper, fabric, clay, tin, ice, jello, frosting, sugar, wood, plastic bottles, metal, and now paint. My first memory of creating flowers was out of a tin pie pan that I cut slits into, folded up like a huge tulip and attached a wire hanger stem. I painted them with a mixture of dust from my sidewalk chalk, and Elmers glue. Later in life, at art school, I sculpted hundreds of porcelain flowers to fill wheel-thrown bowls. Flowers have been like an escape and making thousands of these flowers for a single piece, almost meditative.

 

I hope my work gives tribute to the natural world in an unexpected way. Viewers have asked why I don’t add centers to the flowers? There are a few reasons; I like the subtlety of petals alone, centers seem to reveal the flowers more immediately, and I like the moment that approaching viewers realize suddenly that the whole canvas is covered with individual flowers. Additionally, the centers of flowers are reproductive, and there is significance in their absence.

 

I’m not sure quite how many of these little flowers I have handmade, but I hope to be fortunate enough to continue making thousands and thousands more. With each piece, I find more inspiration and excitement to continue my journey of exploration, the colors, size, and their shapes; my passion and homage to the world of flowers.

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