Jean-Paul Mallozzi’s “Familiars” Explores Masculinity in Emotive Paintings

by CaroPosted on

In depicting the human condition, Jean-Paul Mallozzi uses paint to express emotional narratives. His oil paintings make use of thickly painted areas, moving from more accurate detail to abstract elements and exaggerated colors to imply his subject’s feelings. Color is fundamental to Malozzi’s paintings. “Each one emits a color that echoes complex emotional states that all of us can relate to,” he explains.

Now based in Miami, Mallozzi pulls inspiration from his upbringing in Queens New York, where he remembers being bullied in school and the eventual trials that occurred from childhood into adulthood. His multi-figured paintings and single portraits elaborate on our experience of these key events and situations in life. Mallozzi broadened his fascination with our inherent complexities in his latest body of work, currently featured in “Familiars” at The Art and Culture Center of Hollywood.

“Since this is a museum institution, they’ve given a room to do whatever I want to do and to make work that I can finally talk about without the concerns that a traditional gallery would have expressed,” Mallozzi shared in an email to Hi-Fructose. With this new sense of freedom, Mallozzi felt compelled to further explore the human connection, specifically intimate male relationships: “The subject of the male narrative and queer narrative is personally important to me and I haven’t been able to really talk about until now,” he says.

Mallozzi describes a “familiar” as a spirit embodied or trapped within his subjects, serving as their protectors, provocateurs, agitators, or pacifiers . Layered with abstract brushwork and texture, his portraits offer insight into “masculinity” from his perspective. His subject’s faces appear blurred or obscured, other times intensified by bright colors. We’re invited into a couple’s most intimate moments together, while others are gracefully poised against society’s idea of male vigor. “Whatever happens after this, I’m satisfied to know I was able to get some of these pieces out of my head,” Mallozzi says. “Familiars” is now on view through May 29th, 2016.

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