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Amanda Joy Calobrisi

Shifting the Mind to Tender
March 25th - May 25th, 2021

Backyard Ghost is pleased to present ‘Shifting the Mind to Tender’, an online solo exhibition by Amanda Joy Calobrisi. 


Calobrisi’s recent body of work which encompasses painting, drawing and sculpture is an objection to the long history of female objectification in the visual arts as well as a recapitulation of the stories of womanhood from a protagonist’s internal voice. 


I can render the women affectionately and with camaraderie rather than objectively, and compose through an experience of our bodies from the inside.   - Amanda Joy Calobrisi


The black and white photographs in which Calobrisi refers to were taken by an amateur Parisian photographer who called himself Monsieur X, who worked in the period between WW1 and WW2. During this time, he created 100’s of idiosyncratic and fetishistic images for his own pleasure. Looking at these erotic images of young women Calobrisi finds the lyrical, the theatrical and the playful and makes it political. There is “always something familiar in the pictures” and she “empathizes with the ridiculousness of the positions that we are put in as women in a man’s world”.


Working through multiple forms, mediums and scales Calobrisi attempts to collapse the boundary that the camera creates between the viewer and the image and “to disappear the man’s camera all together”. In this new position, the protagonists can unfold their desires, joy, and pleasure in exposing one’s own body to illuminate and celebrate their sexuality. 

The works presented in ‘Shifting the Mind to Tender’ are sensual, psychological and inhabited by the artist’s distinctive feminist archetypes. The drawings are rendered with uninhibited and carefree marks, the approach both reckless and tender at the same time. The painted forms reveal themselves through heightened color, loose pattern, and uncouth texture. Copious tangled marks made with brush or pencil, caress the interior and exterior of the figures allowing them to exist in a field of constant motion despite the persistent stillness innate to painting and drawing. As if they are taking a self-portrait rather than posing for an artist, the figures in Calobrisi’s work shift from impersonal fantasy to jubilant corporeality that simply carries agency, self-love, and invulnerability. 


Foragers (Hortus Inclusus), Oil on canvas, 40 x 32 inches, 2020


Smiling with a Fan (two nonconformists), Acrylic on Canvas, 10 x 8 inches, 2021


Anasyrma (nonconformist between two trees), 40 x 32, Oil on Canvas, 2020


Comfortable like cats (raised rear ends), graphite on pale pink paper, 9.5 x 12.5 inches, 2020


Wallflower,  graphite on cadmium yellow paper, 8.5 x 11 inches, 2020


Weeds and Grasses (two nonconformists), graphite on periwinkle paper, 8.5 x 11 inches, 2019


Brambles and Weeds, acrylic on panel, 5 x 5 inches, 2020


Park Bench (sensualists), graphite on lemon yellow paper, 13 x 10 inches, 2020


Self Reveler (with pompom)

Graphite, watercolor, gouache, water-soluble crayons on paper

14 x11 inches



Lifting of Skirts (synchronized presenters) 

Graphite, watercolor, gouache, water-soluble crayons on paper

14 x11 inches



Red Bridges, acrylic on canvas, 6.5 x 5.5 inches, 2019


Double Anasyrma with Cigarette, graphite on violet paper, 13 x 10.5 inches, 2020


Self Reveler (in the grass), graphite on green paper, 12.5 x 10.75 inches, 2021


These Three (nonconformists), graphite on pink paper, 12.5 x 10 inches, 2019


BFFs, graphite on canary yellow paper, 8.5 x 11 inches, 2020


Twin Pearls, watercolor, gouache, water-soluble crayons and pencils on cold press paper, 13.5 x 9.75 inches, 2020


Skirt Lifting Nonconformists (Sheela na gig), 16 x 6.5 x 1.75 inches, painted clay, 2020


Clay Pisser (after Rembrandt), painted ceramic, 14 x 16 x 1 inches, 2020


Backbend Presenter (Sheela na gig), painted clay, 8 x 6 x 1 inches, 2020


Untitled Paradise, painted ceramic, 10 x 6 x 1.5 inches, 2020

* All inquiries through HERE or

More drawings from a previous exhibition at Western Exhibitions in Chicago

"like we have nothing else to do but occupy this leafy place like happy animals"

"like we have nothing else to do but occupy this leafy place like happy animals"

Graphite on terra-cotta toned paper, 9 1/2h x 12 3/8w in. Framed: 13 3/4h x 16 3/4w in. 2019

"Pissing in the Wind"

"Pissing in the Wind"

Graphite on orchid pink toned paper, 10 1/4h x 9 3/4w in. Framed: 14 3/4h x 14 1/4w in 2020

"Urban Foragers"

"Urban Foragers"

Graphite on colored paper, 12 1/2h x 9 3/4w in. Framed: 17 1/4h x 14 1/8w in. 2020

"Through the Thick and the Thin"

"Through the Thick and the Thin"

Graphite on cinnabar toned paper, 12 1/2h x 19 1/2w in. Framed: 18 1/2h x 17w in. 2020

"Are We Having Fun Yet"

"Are We Having Fun Yet"

Graphite on colored paper, 12 1/2h x 9 3/4w in. Framed: 14 1/2h x 17 1/2w in. 2020

Amanda Joy Calobrisi


Amanda Joy Calobrisi is a painter living and working in Chicago, IL. Her paintings are experiential, psychological and inhabited by new feminist archetypes. The painted forms reveal themselves through heightened color, loose pattern, and uncouth texture. Organic shapes and tangled marks are executed with a loaded brush, allowing the figures to exist in a field of constant motion despite painting’s persistent stillness. From within these silent cacophonies she wants the viewer to contemplate life, our histories, womanhood, desire, tension, friendship and love. 


She has exhibited her work at Western Exhibitions, Chicago, IL., Roots and Culture, Chicago, IL., MiM Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, Co Prosperity Sphere, Chicago, Il, Whitdel Arts, Detroit, MI; Fundación del Centro Cultural del México Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico; Onishi Civic Center Hall, Fujioka, Japan; Naomi Fine Arts, Chicago, IL; Ugly Step Sister Gallery, Chicago IL; Unspeakable Projects, San Francisco, CA; and S & S project, Chicago.  Her work has been published in New American Paintings and Cheap and Plastique Magazine.


Amanda received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, a Post-Baccalaureate degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008. She is a lecturer at The School of the Art Institute where she teaches in the Painting and Drawing department.

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