Napoleon playing war games on a video game console, Chopin listening to an iPod and Marie Antoinette sporting a Channel purse—welcome to the playful world of Donna Lomangino’s acrylic paintings!
Originally from Chicago, Lomangino moved to the DC area when she was still in High School and later attended the University of Maryland. Lomangino’s mother was also a painter and, following in her footsteps, she began painting at the age of 16. In college, she continued to paint and did so with greater frequency as her art-making allowed her to express herself outwardly, as she was, by her own admission, a shy child and young adult.
For the past two decades, Lomangino has owned a graphic design firm, a fulfilling but demanding career. Feeling the need to to communicate on a deeper level, in the last few years Lomangino began to paint again, to “reconnect with her soul”. Every spare moment has been devoted to painting since then.
Lomangino cites Modigliani and Marlene Dumas as her influences— she too loves to paint people. In particular, an exhibit of Modigliani at the Phillips sent her back to the canvas as she was moved by Modigliani’s beautiful and powerful compositions, his ability to capture a personality, and the intensity of his color palette.
At the Hyattsville arts Festival, attendees will find Lomangino’s oils and acrylics, a few portraits, some still-lives and room-scapes but mostly smaller scale work. She will also show a few drawings and miniature paintings.
What is unusual about Lomangino as a painter is that she uses acrylic and oil as mediums. Many artists, unless they are doing mixed media, generally prefer one medium over the other and, generally detest one medium while convincingly extolling the virtues of the other! Lomangino does prefer oil—she loves to blend the medium. She loves its smell, its luminous color and, after applying paint for a few hours, seeing a developed canvas totally glistening with paint. However, she finds it necessary to use acrylics for some of her subject matter. For instance, Lomangino describes the “cartoon-like quality” of acrylics that lend themselves to create her humorous portraits.
There is also a deeper, more spiritual side to Lomangino’s work. She draws inspiration from learning about people’s lives, mostly from historical novels and films. She has painted faces found in the newspaper’s obituary section, celebrating their lives and immortalizing them to facilitate their passing and honor their spirit. She prefers acrylic for these portraits as the rapid-drying qualities of the paint are reminiscent of how fleeting life is. Furthermore, acrylic’s intensity and crispness of color help to lighten and lift the subject.
We spoke about some of her work including the following paintings:
Noelle–a woman born on Christmas day who had early onset Alzheimer’s.
They Dressed Her Up—childhood memories of being dressed in outfits as parents dictated, but which made her feel ostentatious, silly and uncomfortable, like a puppet paraded out for all to see.
The Marriage—an autobiographic look at the artist’s former marriage. The subjects were a reflection on a tea pot. A clock in the background indicates that time has stopped and both man and woman look in different directions.
Cinemascope series—these are painted in oil and inspired by film stills. Lomangino is fascinated by society’s obsession with fame and compulsion to be noticed. See an example here
Lomangino currently resides and and paints in Rosslyn, VA. Her painting website is www.LomanginoArt.com
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