Marina Di Carlo is the co-director of the Gallery Underground in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia. First and foremost she is an artist working in the Red Studios co-located there. She is from Tampa, Florida though has traveled widely. She studied art at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
When you ask her about her work, she will tell you that her inspiration came from her father who was a medical science researcher. She used to assist him in his research administration, and she recalls his saying, “You know what is art, Marina? Look at this, here is art,” pointing to microbiology film images.
He passed away ten years ago, however Marina has kept his idea about art and her connection with that moment by painting scientific images as an art form. Searching for a description and the term inner spacial artist came to mind.
We talked at her studio about the notion of infinity. There is outer space, and inner space. It goes to infinity in either direction, and all directions for that matter. What we see is constrained by physics and the properties of human invention. One thing that is not constrained is an artist’s imagination.
Like many artists, Marina began with intense focus on the idea to develop compositions and paintings inspired by microbiology film. She has done this for many years and has quite a collection in her catalogue.
Not only does she do large acrylic paintings, she has little Basquiat-like paintings that she pulled from small drawers at her desk.
Asked about the difference between medical illustration and paintings, she explained how composition is a part of the process. She showed to me a black and white film from her father’s source material. It was marked by tape to isolate certain portions that would guide her creating a painting.
Then, she spoke about how she is now in a major transition because she has discovered the need to achieve more creativity in her work by becoming more interpretative and abstract.
That is an "ah-ha" moment for artists.
You see, it doesn’t matter whether you begin by painting barns, landscapes, trees and such, at some point some artists reach a breakaway state in which they are sufficiently comfortable reach beyond where they have been.
In Marina’s case, beyond may not be the outer limit, but may well be toward an inner dimension for which there is no end in sight.
This is an exciting time for this artist and for patrons to witness the transformation.
“Marina Di Carlo was born in Munster, Indiana, in 1973. She grew up in the state of Florida – the black sheep in a family of physicians and professionals. She received her B.F.A. from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. After graduating, she headed west, to Arizona. Since then she has lived in China, India, Washington, D.C., and Belgium.
My paintings transform scientific images by imbuing them with character, motion, and tension. We all share an instinctive connection with biomorphic shapes found throughout nature. The seemingly abstract depictions of human histology offer an opportunity to view the inner-world of the human body with this same sense of innate connection. Once translated through paint, the images may resemble canyons or tide pools, trees or sky distant miles or light years across. But the images remain intimate. They suggest movement and activity. They show life, dancing.”
The dance has just begun.
She is a member of the Arlington Artists Alliance,and her work is shown at Gallery Underground.
Address: 2100 Crystal Dr, Arlington, VA 22202