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As always Tania’s work contains a strong element of autobiography which lends the imagery both a personal resonance and authorial power....places the viewer in the role of voyeur and is made a complicit accomplice delving into the artist’s mind and uncovering small secrets and a multiplicity of ideas which are the culmination of the artist’s journey down a road less travelled. (excerpt from catalogue Forward, Hapless Times At The Gates of Euphoria, 2016 - John Monteleone, Wollongong Art Gallery, Program Director).
Tania Maria Mastroianni is an Australian artist and was raised between Wollongong, NSW and Rome, Italy. She began her formal art studies at The National Art School, Sydney Majoring in Painting and Printmaking, TAFE Wollongong, Bachelor of Creative Arts, Painting Major, Wollongong University and Post - Graduate studies at Sydney College of the Arts in Installation, Sculpture and Performance Art. These studies provided Mastroianni with a comprehensive and diverse disciplinary foundation for her practice; which has been both object and concept based. She has worked in various mediums including portrait painting, installation art, etching, film, soft sculpture, polymer clay and ceramics. Employing skills that include gold gilding, fine crotchet and lace making, using materials such as icing sugar, pasta shells, scent, dolls and human teeth and hair.
Her work is informed by her Roman/Italian heritage and focuses on the language around Catholic tastes, folk histories and ritual including “ex-voto” (meaning for grace received). She typically works with concepts relating to childhood, sex and death, popular culture, religion, mythology and the occult - while always retaining a theatrical and staged element in her work.
Her practice was interrupted for several years due to health issues, but she eventually returned to art making working within new parameters. Some view her latter work as having 'visionary' qualities, and she does sit in a space that may have been loosely labelled 'outsider' - however Mastroianni has strong formal art qualifications and draws on diverse subject matter. She retains that she intentionally positions her work outside of what is considered more popular and/or mainstream narratives in contemporary Australian art.
Mastroianni had a compelling solo exhibition (installation) in 2015 at Wollongong Art Gallery titled 'The Sanctuary (Of Roses, Love and Loathing) and in 2016 she was Wollongong Art Gallery’s Artist-in-Residence, producing a solo exhibition with a major installation 'Hapless Days At The Gates Of Euphoria'. During both exhibitions people told her they had visited the installations to pray for miracles and healing - a fascinating outcome for the artist.
Mastroianni has taken part in numerous group exhibitions and art prizes, including being a finalist in The Flow Wollongong Art Gallery National Contemporary Art Prize, The Blake Prize for Religious Art, Hazelhurst Works On Paper Award, The North Sydney Art Prize and The Fisher's Ghost Art Award for consecutive years. On several occasions she has been a finalist in The Meroogal Women's Art Prize (First Prize Winner, 2011) and has works held in private collections - both in Australia and Europe.
She has been working on ’The Crying Creatures, Series’ from 2017 until 2020 which are primarily watercolour, ink/mixed medium and collaged works on 300 gr. Arches paper; and has more recently begun a new body of work 'The Acid Barocco Rococò Brut Period'.
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