Edition limited to 10
Size: 37.75" x 48"
Philomena Marano has spent decades “penetrat[ing] the soul of Coney Island to reveal its twin promises of candy-colored paradise and garishly ornate nightmare,” as Ann Aptaker describes, through the prints and cut-paper collage in her “American Dream-land” series (1979-). These colorful, graphic style works evoke the energy and amusement of Coney Island through depictions of the rides, the boardwalk, clowns, and food vendors. Many are large-scale papier collé installations, a technique Marano learned from Robert Indiana in whose studio she formerly assisted. In conjunction with “American Dream Land,” in 1981 Marano and Richard Eagan co-founded the Coney Island Hysterical Society, which undertakes projects such as restoring old rides in response to the alarming rate at which they were shutting down in the fabled amusement park of their childhood.
Ms. Marano is a daughter of Brooklyn. She holds a BFA from Pratt Institute, is an intimate of the visual poetry of Coney Island, created the winning poster for the first Spirit of Brooklyn poster competition, and is a master of papier collé, the elegant cut paper technique she learned as a studio assistant to preeminent artist Robert Indiana.
Marano’s acclaimed series, “American- Dream-Land,” a decades-spanning project of papier collé originals and limited edition prints, penetrates the soul of Coney Island to reveal its twin promises of candy-colored paradise and gritty raw excitement. Her ornate compositions are cut out of “color-aid” paper - a type of paper coated with vibrant screen printers ink, the same paper which Romare Bearden frequently incorporated into his collages.
Marano’s work has been exhibited by Tabla Rasa Gallery, ACA Galleries, by Prince Street Gallery, Smart Clothes Gallery, the Municipal Art Society, the Museum of the City of New York, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and the Coney Island Museum among others in the New York area and at the George Krevsky Gallery in San Francisco and are also represented in private, corporate and museum collections including the Brooklyn Museum.
“American Dream-Land” and Marano’s work as a co-founder (with artist Richard Eagan) of the Coney Island Hysterical Society were featured in Charles Denson’s award-winning book “Coney Island Lost and Found” (Ten Speed Press, Berkeley/Toronto, 2002). Additional publications featuring Marano and “American Dream-Land” include Amusing the Zillion, 24/7 Magazine, the New York Times, the Daily News and others.
Her current work expands into the larger city, exposing elements of urban life: the underappreciated grace of an out-of-the-way tire shop; the disquieting lure of an exit sign at night. In addition to creating papier collé images for this examination of the city’s overlooked beauty, she is also working on a cut-paper animation, “Take Me There,” a fantasy inspired by both her early train rides to Coney Island and a proposal for the Franklin Avenue subway. The ”Take Me There” trailer is posted for viewing on You Tube.
Born in Brooklyn, NY
Lives & works in Brooklyn, NY
and in Sarasota, Florida