Theresa Passarello is a Canadian painter whose work investigates issues of memory and language: the human figure in spaces of transformation or limned moments of consciousness, often referenced through the metaphor of water. Unfilled spaces, gaps, missing parts - speaks to a more direct focus on the absence of memory, the emptiness in between what we know and do not know, the echo that remains in its wake. In visually exploring these themes, her two aesthetic poles of inquiry - figurative and text-based work - have begun to come together, conflate, such that a more nuanced interplay of the elements of her painterly vocabulary has emerged.
The initial underpaintings of text - excerpts from her personal journals - readily lose themselves in ephemerality, succumbing to the organic patterns of ripples and circular forms, articulating an aesthetic space that anchors itself in increasing abstraction. Not only the text, but the figures as well submit to this more abstract iteration, sliding back and forth between form and remnant, reality and trace, as she intuitively responds to her own mark-making and gesture. This patterning, or pre-verbal signage, reflects the sense of erasure and loss of memory that occupies her works on mylar, presented as obscure word puzzles, literary palimpsests. Her refrain of stencilled words are stuttered, repeated, erased against a backdrop of full and empty spaces and gaps, mirroring the impediments to knowing the past and thus ourselves. By relinquishing her hold on a fully rendered figure or legible text, the spaces open up, become more evocative, resonant, a site of possibility and further discovery, a condition she continually aspires towards as a visual artist.
Born in the Bahamas, Theresa Passarello is a graduate from Concordia University’s Studio Arts Program (2013) and also has a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo (1983). Passarello’s work has been exhibited extensively, featured in art magazines and is collected internationally in private and corporate collections. She has been an active board member of the Visual Arts Centre (Westmount, Qc) since 2011, notably President (2020 - present) and Chair of the Gallery Selection Committee for the McClure Gallery (2019 - present).