Emily Piccirillo

Artist’s Statement

For these pieces, I tie canvas panels into steel grids and paint both sides of the panels – sky imagery on the front and color fields on the reverse.  Photographs are not involved. Sometimes the cords extend beyond the confines, breaking boundaries between the real and represented.  Other times they appear to vanish, the panels floating against the wall as the clouds drift across them.  The cord emphasizes formal and physical tension, literally tying together the fabricated and natural worlds, and sometimes merging with tree branches that add gesture.

These works stand off the wall, ambient tone reflecting back and incorporating this other surface and the space between.  Gaps and openings capture light, freeing color from form.  The panels cast shadows, converging field with ground and enhancing the use of illusion.  Multiple gradations occur at once and change with the surrounding light.  The pieces take on transitive properties and hover between painting and sculpture.

The grid is commonly associated with inhabited space and here I reinvent it as a ‘deconstruction’ material, pointing to how the elements are being stretched today in a very direct way.  The enduring physicality of the steel contrasts with the transient nature of clouds.

When I first began painting the sky, I realized that as our collective canvas it has huge universal importance and influence.  We all connect with it on a daily basis and incorporate it into common language…a sunny disposition, a breezy attitude, a stormy relationship, head in the clouds, the sky’s the limit, being on cloud nine, things are looking up.  Most spiritual orientations direct one’s gaze skyward for strength and solace.  Likewise, beauty seems to have become a form of radical expression and I enjoy bringing more of it into our lives.


1991                            M.A. in Art Therapy New York University, New York, NY

1982                            B.A. in Fine Arts - Honors Brown University, Providence, RI 


 2012                            Artomatic 2012, Crystal City, VA

2011                            Sculpture NOW 2011, Juried, Artery Plaza Gallery, Bethesda, MD

2010                            Porous Borders Exhibition, Juried,

                                    Washington Historical Society, Washington, DC

2010                            48 Hours Solo Exhibition, Gallery Neptune, Bethesda, MD

2009                            Franz and Virginia Bader Fund Award Recipient ($15,000)

2009                            Strictly Painting 7 Exhibition, McLean Project for the Arts, McLean, VA

2009                            April Exhibition, Gallery Neptune, Bethesda, MD

                                    Into the Open Solo Exhibition, Gallery Neptune, Bethesda, MD

2008                            Aquifer Exhibition, Juried, Edison Place Gallery, Washington, DC

2008                            Le Cadavre Exquis Exhibition, Heliport Gallery, Silver Spring, MD

2008                            Move It Exhibition, Gallery Neptune, Bethesda, MD

2008                            Bethesda Painting Awards - Semifinalist

2007                            Conflict / Peace: Finding Common Ground Exhibition, Juried,

                                    Columbia Art Center, Columbia, MD

2007                            No Representation Exhibition, Juried, Warehouse Gallery, Washington, DC

2007                            9th Annual All-Media Exhibition, Juried, Touchstone Gallery,

                                    Washington, DC - Honorable Mention

2006                            The Art of Living House and Garden Tour, Takoma Park, MD

1982                            Minnie Helen Hicks Award, Brown University, Distinction in Fine Arts

1981                            Council for the Arts Exhibition, Juried, Suffield, CT

1981                            Summer Exhibition, Maine Photographic Workshop, Juried, traveled

                                    for a year throughout the US, beginning in New York, NY

1981                            Work published in The Best of College Photography: 1981, by

                                    Photographer’s Forum Magazine

1980                            National Nikon Contest - Fourth Place


1988-Present               Grant Manager for several nonprofit organizations, DC area 

1988-Present               Individual and Group Art Therapist, NYC and DC areas

1988-Present               Executive Director of Programming,

Non-Profits Serving HIV/AIDS-Positive Communities, NYC and DC areas


Washington Sculptors Group

Washington Project for the Arts

McLean Project for the Arts

Arlington Arts Center