Emerging Artists | Matteo Caloiaro

Keeping it real

Matteo Caloiaro, Beach Town, oil, 18 x 18.

Matteo Caloiaro, Beach Town, oil, 18 x 18.

This story was featured in the October 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

Ordinary lives and ordinary people are what fascinate Matteo Caloiaro. The artist hopes that his work conveys a “sense of naturalism” because his mission as a painter is to eschew any form of idealization of his subject matter. For example, when it comes to cityscapes and street scenes, the Florida-based artist prefers the rougher edges of town, not the shiny glass skyscrapers of the downtown areas.

Caloiaro searches for the fraying fringes, the edges of town where warehouses are weathered and the people who live there are working-class folks. His figures eat fast-food hamburgers around a kitchen table, retrieve clothes from a dryer at a laundromat, and stroll through gritty beach towns that have seen better days. For Caloiaro, cityscapes are all about capturing the mood and atmosphere of a scene. He is often captivated by the complexity and energy of the streets. “Streets are full of a variety of different shapes, colors, values, and movement,” he says. “I love their unpredictability and susceptibility to change.”

On the other hand, figurative paintings are more about the individual or group of individuals and their relationship to each other and their environment. And, he adds, “Painting flesh is just fun.”

Caloiaro is known for his loose, expressive brushwork and for his talent for capturing the play of light in a scene. His paintings often straddle the fence between realism and abstraction. It comes as no surprise that artists such as Nicolai Fechin, Valentin Serov, and a host of other Russian Impressionists have influenced his painterly style.

In 2007 Caloiaro graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine art from the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL, the city he calls home. Today, when he isn’t painting or teaching classes at his alma mater, he is out scouting locations. “I paint a lot of rather mundane subjects, so if I see someone or some place and the light is hitting them just right, I want to paint it,” Caloiaro says. “My problem, more often than not, is finding the time to paint everything that inspires me.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff

Kiley Court Gallery, Provincetown, MA; Brandt-Roberts Galleries, Columbus, OH; Palm Avenue Fine Art, Sarasota, FL.

Featured in the October 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art October 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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