Tracy Spadafora received her BFA from Boston University and her MFA from the State University of New York, New Paltz. Shee currently lives in Westborough, Massachusetts.
Images of nature came into my work many years ago. Intrigued by the elegant and complex patterns of leaves and other flora, I began incorporating them in my work as symbols of our natural environment. In my paintings these organic forms are juxtaposed with symbols of our man-made environment, represented by schematic diagrams and architecture plans of the “Big Dig” artery project in Boston, MA. The leaves, pods, flowers and seeds often take on a whimsical quality as they hang, float, and blossom from a background of roads, parking lots, and industrial parks, ultimately reshaping these structured surroundings.
I work with an ancient wax painting technique called encaustic, which allows me to layer images and preserve them underneath the surface. The obscuring and burying of images within the layers of wax and paint helps to extend their meaning into the realms of memory and intuition. In these works natural structures and man-made structures converge and collide, creating a dialogue between these opposing forces. The natural environment has suffered greatly as a result of commercial, residential, and industrial development. Nature struggles to survive and find new life within the continuous sprawl of these man-made environments. With these paintings I intend to convey a sense of the poetry and endurance of nature as a force - a force that seems to persist in spite of man’s actions. In this work I seek to address larger questions concerning the lineage of our natural and man-made environments.