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Tina Blondell was born in 1953 in Salzburg, Austria, to an American father and Austrian mother who encouraged her early interest in art. As a child, her father taught her to draw, and travels with her parents exposed her to art throughout Europe. Although early on she attended private art lessons and later took classes in painting, Blondell is essentially self-taught.
Crucial to her education as an artist, was her first-hand encounters with art in Italy, particularly the work of Caravaggio, with its sense of stage-lit drama, and of Artemisia Gentileschi, whose powerful paintings and life as an artist and a woman had been recently rediscovered. Other influences that Blondell cites are Goya and Francis Bacon, both of whose paintings combine an emotional impact with a vision of the human condition. She notes, as well, her interest in the ornamented Secession work of Gustav Klimt. Blondell's involvement with earlier art informed both her technique and interest in narrative, and her quoting of images from the history of art in this painter's decidedly contemporary work.
In the mid 1990s, Blondell settled in Minneapolis, where she continues to live, producing The Cradle of Civilzation, a series of thirteen paintings which used the imagery of the egg and the female body, in an extended meditation on fertility and the sacred in women's lives. The series encompasses the ancient and the modern, ranging from the symbols of age-old cultures to the ongoing Eastern European tradition of geometrically painted Easter eggs.
In 1996, Blondell began a new phase in her work by producing a self portrait in watercolor. Deeply reflecting both her inner and outer life, the outpouring of work that began with that image continues with a panoply of female figures, all exhibiting a pattern on their skin that bespeaks both pain and transformation. Strongly imaginative, these depictions of mythic, biblical, and modern figures use the delicacy of watercolor to embody both a sense of vulnerability and of beauty emerging from the depths of difficult experience.
In 2000 Blondell began to re-familiarize herself with the medium of oil paints. Her current work depicts contemporary women from historical, folkloric, and mythological perspectives. A common thread to the new work is a focus on the interplay of light and dark elements – the chiaroscuro of the Italian masters who originally captured Blondell's imagination as a child growing up in Italy.
Blondell has exhibited her work widely including solo exhibitions at the Fraser Gallery, in Washington, D.C. and the Shelly Holzemer, in Minneapolis. Her work is in many private and public collections including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Weisman Art Museum.