Tracy DiTolla received her BA in art history from William Paterson University, her MA in art history and her MFA in studio art from Montclair University.
She currently resides in northern New Jersey and heads the art department at Warren County Community College. She exhibits her work throughout New Jersey and is a freelance writer for sites such as notwhatitis.com and The Art Story.
I am interested in the way that violent imagery and stories derived from Catholicism are taken in and reinterpreted in imaginative and domestic spaces. My work explores the effects of those images on the mind of a child through memories of my own childhood. Then I examine how I might look back upon those early interpretations as an adult and use them to reinvent Catholic rituals and icons.
Violent images that are rendered in beautiful color and paint, such as the crucified Christ and martyred saints are a constant presence in Catholic Churches and architecture pre-Vatican II. I encountered this imagery as a child while going to church and continued to focus on them into my adulthood as I began my study of art history, specifically with Renaissance and Baroque imagery.
In my paintings I explore these ideas through objects placed in various settings with strong, dramatic lighting to create disturbing and dream-like spaces that also have a staged element to them – as when memories are rearranged and skewed over time. I also play with scale to further emphasize the adult/child viewpoints.