Dellamarie Parrilli

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Dellamarie Parrilli
Born 1949
Nationality American
Education DePaul University
Known for Painting
Movement Metropolitan Artists, The Preston Contemporary Art Center

Dellamarie Parrilli (born 1949) is an American artist, "a born master of her medium", is recognized as one of the most talented contemporary abstract painters painting today. Parrilli is a self-taught artist; whose work is wide ranging, ever changing, and restlessly experimental. "Her prior extensive background in music and dance is reflected in her work. She has transformed that creativity from the stage to the studio where she literally sings and dances on her canvases . It is easy to see who her artistic forbearers of the 21st century are: Willem de Kooning, Vasily Kandinsky and Joan Mitchell among others. She continues in their creative tradition, but from her own unique perspective and introspective vision with a joie de vivre that she shares with us." (Nancy di Benedetto, Professor, Marymount Manhattan College, Lecturer, Metropolitan Museum of Art, August 2002)

Early life and education[edit]

Parrilli was born 9 weeks premature a twin and raised on Chicago’s north side. She attended McPherson Elementary School and Amundsen High School. She graduated from DePaul University in Chicago where she earned a BA in music and theater. Parrilli studied voice with Anne Perillo, studied tap, jazz and ballet with Lou Conte of the Hubbard Street Dance Studio, Improv at the Second City Training Center and at the Annoyance Theater. She funded her education by singing in night clubs, doing industrial voiceovers, on camera appearances and local theater productions. Parrilli then began producing her own one woman shows and released an album, "Dellamarie LIVE"[1] DePaul Magazine wrote, "She developed a Judy Garland like voice and a successful career."[2] In the Art Acquisitor, Jim Distasio states, "She worked her way through college by performing in shows and doing voice-over work for television |commercials and albums."[1][3][4]

Stage career[edit]

In 1985, Parrilli released an album,[5] and by June 1986 was performing the lead role in the dramatic musical, "Judy: The Songs and Stories of a Legend," a one woman tribute to the late Judy Garland.[1][6] Parrill's career on the stage was cut short when she was diagnosed with Lyme disease and the rare autoimmune disorder Sjögren's syndrome.[2][6][7]

But one of the most devastating blows to Parrilli was when her Broadway dream was brought to a screeching halt by a life-threatening illness. After losing her voice to Sjögren's syndrome, she became engaged in another art form, jewelry designing.[8][9] During her early career she also appeared in numerous art exhibition shows.[10][11][12]

Patrick Butler wrote in the Lerner Booster that "As soon as Parrilli began regaining strength, she taught herself jewelry designing, then with a partner opened Hoxie's barbecue restaurant."[13]

By 1996, the restaurant was chosen to cater former President Clinton's inaugural "Blue Jeans Bash" in 1997,[7] but health problems forced her to close it on July 22, 2000.[14]

Subsequently, she took up painting. Jim Distasio quoted her in the Art Acquisitor saying that "I needed to give voice to everything that I was feeling. As life progresses, you start asking more important questions. What is life about? I start painting with an emotional thought or a question. Sometimes I work straight through the night and lose all sense of time. Many times I paint until I drop the brushes on the floor and have to crawl up the stairs."[1] After two years, acting on a friend's suggestion, Parrilli sent some examples of her artwork to the Fine Arts Building Gallery in Chicago. Her first solo exhibit, "Reflections: Journeys Within and Beyond" took place in January 2002.[13]

She is a member of Metropolitan Artists, a non-political, non-profit art organization operating under the umbrella of the West Side Arts Coalition.[15]


Parrilli works with Oil painting, Acrylic paint, murals, jewelry design, metal stiffening, mixed media, assemblages, panels, sculptures, cubes and photography.

Parrilli is a self-taught artist influenced by abstract expressionism. Art critics likened her work to those of other abstract expressionists like Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Joan Mitchell, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Mark Tobey, Mark Rothko, Henri Michaux and Jean-Paul Riopelle.[12][16][17][18]

Art critic Ed McCormack wrote, "Having taken up her brushes after a severe lung infection curtailed her career as a singer and actress, from the beginning Parrilli approached composition as a form of visual music. Indeed, the first paintings of hers that I encountered in an exhibition at Marymount College in 2004 seemed firmly in the gestural tradition of the branch of abstract expressionism for which the critic Harold Rosenberg coined the term "action painting"."[18] He goes on to say, "it is doubtful that even Parrilli herself can explain how she accomplishes her peculiar aesthetic alchemy. One can only surmise that she arrives at her technical finesse via some deeply intuitive means, orchestrating the canvas in the process of painting in the best tradition of the Abstract Expressionists ... Certainly Dellamarie Parrilli is one of the most worthy successors."[17]

In their article in the NYArts, Ann Landi and Edward Rubin wrote, "And then along comes an artist like Parrilli, who is entirely self-taught and by and large unaware of the major currents that shaped 20th century art. Biography is not always relevant to aesthetic understanding, but hers does shed some light on how she comes by the audacity to tackle seemingly worn-out formulas, to give them a mighty shake, and to conjure up something that is all her own."[12] According to Mary Anne Redding in the Preston Contemporary Art Center's exhibition catalog, Xhibit, "Parrilli moves toward the meditative in her use of mark making emulating ancient Chinese traditions of calligraphy. Fluid or staccato, her symbols become part of a large conundrum of resolving the problems of life through art. Her process in painting weaves into her life coming full circle back to an open ended dialogue she wishes to have with the viewer."[19] For Renee Phillips of Manhattan Arts International, her "paintings are visual journeys to self-discovery. Viewers probe their translucent layers where inner and outer worlds coalesce, contrast and harmonize with each other. The rhythmic compositions and tactile surfaces resonate with passion and inspiration."[this quote needs a citation]

Art Acquisitor, a review of her art says, "Astounding in their luminosity, Ms Parrilli's canvases express the struggle with light and color. When gazing at her work, viewers are marveled by the density of color—monochromatic or blended multiple colors—which makes the streaks and windows of pure light that much more brilliant ... Along with this heightened sense of reality, Ms Parrilli presents a calm vigor, inspiring in its magnitude and magnificence."[16]


Regarding Parilli's "Seeing the Light" 2004 exhibition at Marymount College, Ed McCormack stated, "the manner in which Parrilli saturates her large canvases with color conveys the sensation of light rather than of inert pigment. Light seems to radiate from her paintings with almost supernatural chromatic intensity."[17]

Her painting, "Reflections, is described as "a stately vertical canvas dominated by brilliant blue hues with frosted areas of white glowing through at its center. Few contemporary painters can evoke such chromatic shimmer with so severely limited a palette as Parrilli does here, where her coloristic restraint pays off stunningly, suggesting a numinous, incandescent spiritual realm."[17]

Parrilli's acrylic paintings were on exhibit at Ezair Gallery in Southampton, New York in 2006. These were commented on by Ann Landi and Edward Rubin, who stated, "Her mastery of spontaneous image making has grown ever more sure in the last couple of years, and the paintings she exhibited here are among the best she has ever done."[12] Her solo exhibition at Walter Wickiser Gallery, New York, NY in 2009 were acrylics on translucent plastic sheeting which, according to McCormack, enhances the ethereal quality of her luminous hues.[18] and acrylic "Confessions of an Adventuress," a 40 inch square oil and acrylic painting by Parrilli was featured in the ARTnews magazine where Nancy di Benedetto, a professor at Marymount College and lecturer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was quoted to have said, "bold radiant colors leap from the canvas, she literally sings and dances on her canvas ... continues tradition of deKooning, Kandinsky, Mitchell with joie de vivre she shares with all."[20]

Of her 2006 exhibition at Ezair Gallery in Southampton, New York, art critics Landi and Rubin wrote, "The most buoyant of the works—such as Asian Dreams, Wind Song, and Dolphin Dance—combine stains of luminous, neon color with drips and splatters in yellow, black and lime green. The upshot is a lyrical intensity and chromatic brilliance that occasionally rivals Kandinsky. There are also hints of Far Eastern influences in the Zen-like calligraphic, central image of Alpha Omega and in the colors and vertical format of Asian Dreams, which calls to mind a panel from a Chinese or Japanese screen painting."[12]

Beyond 2D[edit]

Beyond 2D paintings, Parrilli works with jewelry design, metal stiffening, mixed media, assemblages, panels, sculptures and cubes. According to the Las Cruces Bulletin, "Parrilli has been described as a restless, intrepid experimenter who refuses to limit her aesthetic horizons, and her work is said to reference the best in the tradition of abstract expressionism."[21]


Parrilli works with mixed media, which were on exhibit at the (now closed) Preston Contemporary Art Center in 2009, included (among others artworks) pieces of triptychs and assemblages. Mary Anne Redding wrote in the Preston Contemporary Art Center's exhibition catalog, Xhibit that "Parrilli recycles industrial plastics; using plastic sheeting as a ground for layers of acrylic paint."[19]


"Art of the Trapeze" by Dellamarie Parrilli, 2009; 48 x 25, Mixed media
"When It All Comes True" by Dellamarie Parrilli, 2009; 48 x 25, Mixed media

Some of Parrilli's works on exhibit at the Preston Contemporary Art Center in 2009 were panel paintings. Las Cruces Bulletin wrote, "Paintings inspired by nature capture the same impressions of transparency as those caused by light on water and changes in the weather. Parrilli paints on translucent sheeting that enhances the ethereal quality of designs of luminous hues. Employing the industrial sheets in a variety of surfaces. Parrilli offers them as innate parts of her compositions. Their inner swirls provide a dramatic counterpoint to vibrant colors in works that literally play with light."[21]

"Art of the Trapeze" and "When It All Comes True" were two of Parrilli's pieces from her Into the Light series that were included in the exhibition. Mary Anne Redding wrote in the exhibition catalog, "Their inner swirls provide a dramatic counterpoint to vibrant colors in works that literally play with light. The paintings break barriers by going beyond 2-D, becoming vast, mysterious explorations of the formless states of Zen."[22] Redding goes on to say that "Dellamarie Parrilli lets the subtle effects of light and a cacophony of color fill her work, creating paintings that are both dynamic and meditative ... she wants to spontaneously give the illusion of translucence and immateriality emphasizing the emergence of interplaying worlds, visual ideas and visions."[19]


Parrilli's exhibitions, include:[23][24][25]

Solo Exhibitions[17]
  • 2002 "Reflections: Journeys Within And Beyond", (solo), Fine Arts Building Gallery, Chicago, IL
  • 2003 "Seeing The Light", (2 person), Marymount Manhattan College Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2004 "Journey Into Color", (2 person), Gallery 415, Chicago, IL
  • 2006 "Between Here … And There", (solo), Ezair Gallery, Southampton, New York
  • 2007 "Rhapsodic Abstractions: Variations On A Theme", (solo), Ezair Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2008 "Into The Light", (solo) Walter Wickiser Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2009 "Jackson Pollock Meets Bette Midler" The Palmer Gallery, Chicago, IL
  • 2009 "Beyond Barriers", The Palmer Gallery, Chicago, IL
Group Exhibitions[19][22]
  • 2002 "Chelsea Global Competition", Amsterdam Whitney Fine Art Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2003 "Viridian Affiliate Artists", exhibition, Viridian Artists, New York, NY; Vernita Nemec, Director
  • 2004 "Chicago Art Open", National Vietnam Veterans Museum, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & The Chicago Office Of Tourism, in association with Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago, IL
  • 2005 "Abstract Impressions", CCT Gallery, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
  • 2006 "Evocative Expressions", Cork Gallery, Lincoln Center For The Performing Arts, NY
  • 2007 "Biennale Internazionale Dell'arte Contemporanea", Fortezza da Basso, Florence, Italy
  • 2009 "Moscow International Festival of Art—Traditions and Contemporaneity", Moscow, Russia
  • 2009 "Visual Interpretations" GalleriaZero, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2009 "Lush Xhibit", Preston Contemporary Art Center, Misilla, New Mexico


Ed McCormack compiled a catalog of Parrilli's works in 2004, "Dellamarie Parrilli's Radiant Contemporary Color Music."[26]

Honors and Awards[edit]

Some honors and awards worn by Parrilli are:[2][16][25][27]

  • 2002: Richard W. and Wanda Gardner Memorial Award for "Searching For The Divine", Northern Indiana Arts Association, 59th Annual Salon Show. Juror: Paul Sierra
  • 2002: Manhattan Arts International Artist Showcase Award for "Manhattan Rhythm" in the “I Love Manhattan” competition. Jurors: Edward Rubin and Renée Phillips
  • 2002: Merit Award, "Reactions: Living in the New America", Union Street Gallery, Chicago Heights, IL Juror: Ardell Arthur, MA, Art Historian
  • 2003: Best of Show, for "Rhapsody In Blue", Jazz: Visual Improvisations, Target Gallery, Alexandria, VA, Juror: Sam Gilliam, international artist
  • 2003: Chelsea Global Showcase Winner for "Manhattan Rhythm", Amsterdam Whitney International Fine Art, Inc.[28]
  • 2003: Award Of Excellence for "Desire", Manhattan Arts International, 20th Anniversary Competition, New York, NY, Jurors: Nancy di Benedetto, Renee Phillips, NY
  • 2003: Award Of Excellence for "Journey To Self Discovery", Manhattan Arts International, "The Healing Power Of Art", New York
  • 2004: Artist Showcase Award Winner, for "Life, Love And The Art Of Celebration", Manhattan Arts International, The Healing Power Of Art, Juror: E. Jay Weiss,


  1. ^ a b c d Jim Distasio (May 2003). "The miracle of art". Art Acquisitor (Amsterdam Whitney International Fine Art Inc.). p. 75. 
  2. ^ a b c "From disaster to rave reviews: Dellamarie Parrilli". DePaul Magazine. Winter 2004. 
  3. ^ "An evening of 'Razzle Dazzle' Dellamarie enlivens Jane Addams Theater". Gay Life. August 17, 1979. p. 19. 
  4. ^ J. E. Quinlan (August 25, 1979). "DePaul singer Dellamarie 'trips' in reverse to success". Near North News. 
  5. ^ Maggie Daly (August 14, 1979). "DELLAMARIE". Chicago Tribune. p. Section 2. 
  6. ^ a b "FASHION/GLAMOUR IN THE 80's". The Gazette (Chicago). October 1985. 
  7. ^ a b Laurie Casey (February 20, 2002). "Singer finds a new voice on canvas". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Dellamarie at Jane Addams". Bridgeport News. August 8, 1979. 
  9. ^ "Round Town". Chicago Independent Bulletin. August 16, 1979. p. 13. 
  10. ^ "Dynamic, inspirational woman". Inside. January 10 – February 5, 2002. 
  11. ^ Patrick Butler (March 18, 2004). "Artist serves up new exhibit". Lerner Skyline. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Ann Landi and Edward Rubin (November–December 2006). "At the Beach with Dellamarie Parilli and Thomas Nuzum". NYArts. p. 89. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Patrick Butler (March 20, 2002). "Artist relishes life's banquet: Painting, spare ribs and song". Lerner Booster. pp. 1, 3. 
  14. ^ Don Rose (August 10, 2000). "The Grub Game Empire Building: Larry Tucker's World of Meat". Chicago Reader. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Dellamarie Parrilli". Metropolitan Artists. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c "Dellamarie Parrilli". Art Acquisitor (Amsterdam Whitney International Fine Art Inc.). May 2003. p. 28. 
  17. ^ a b c d e Ed McCormack (February–March 2004). "At Marymount Manhattan College: The Passion of Dellamarie". Gallery&Studio. 
  18. ^ a b c Ed McCormack (February–March 2009). "Dellamarie Parrilli's Exquisitely Honed New Paintings". Gallery&Studio. p. 10. 
  19. ^ a b c d Mary Anne Redding (Fall 2009). Xhibit. Preston Contemporary Art Center. p. 21. 
  20. ^ "CRITICS AGREE". ARTnews. 2004. 
  21. ^ a b "From Abstract to Experimental and Beyond Preston opens new exhibit with vibrancy, color Oct. 9". Las Cruces Bulletin. October 16, 2009. p. C7. 
  22. ^ a b Xhibit. Preston Contemporary Art Center. Fall 2009. p. 9. 
  23. ^ "Pollock/Midler exhibit in River North". Windy City Times. April 29, 2009. p. 9. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  24. ^ "FALL 2009 EXHIBITION". Preston Contemporary Art Center. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b "Dellamarie Parrilli Chicago, IL". Preston Contemporary Art Center. 
  26. ^ "Dellamarie Parrilli's Radiant Contemporary Color Music [Paperback]". Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Dellamarie Parrilli (Chicago, Illinois)". Seton Hall University Library Gallery. Retrieved July 5, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Deadline Nearing For Chelsea Global Showcase 2004". ArtDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 

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