I was born in New York City. Growing up, I spent each summer in Italy with family and traveled widely. As a child and teenager I studied painting privately with a local artist and continued with fine arts courses in college. I received a BA in Art History from Barnard College in New York City, an MD degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, New York and trained in Internal Medicine at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. I completed a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and was in private practice in Infectious Diseases for twelve years.
After leaving practice I attended courses in the Continuing Education Division of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA and the workshops of painter Timothy Hawkesworth at the Norristown Arts Building in Norristown, PA. I have been in solo and group shows in Philadelphia, PA and surroundings and my work is in individual and corporate collections, including those of PNC Bank Headquarters in Pittsburgh, and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. I am a Full Member of 3rd Street Gallery, 45 N 2nd St. Philadelphia, juried in in 2014. I was also accepted into the Cerulean Gallery Collective, 1355 Ridge Ave. Philadelphia in 2017. My work is available by contacting me via my website. Selected work is also on exhibit by David Rocco Gallery, LLC 1001 Locust St. Philadelphia Pa.
I love being in mountainous regions and places with dramatic geological formations. The key word in that sentence is "being". All the senses are engaged as I pocket smooth stones, sketch a mountain, smell the thyme and clover, taste the tartness of wild plants and listen alternatively to the sounds of nature as well as its silence. When I go hiking and climbing, exhilaration arises both from the physical effort as well as from acknowledging fear and overcoming it. The body hums with the energy of exertion and alertness. I do not challenge nature, rather I challenge myself.
In the studio, I explore what makes these mountainous places beautiful and mysterious and create paintings in which massive forms, the surrounding emptiness, and the sense of gravity dictate how I use color and shape. The raw and elemental sculptural forms of nature that seem to stand immutably also embody the unseen forces that have created them, and are also continually reshaping them. Nothing is static here and time flows on, albeit at mountain speed, rather than human speed.
The sense of being in the moment and acknowledging the physicality of the act of painting is a touchstone that informs my studio practice, and thus mirrors my experience of being in the outdoors. I work from memory, referring occasionally to my travel sketchbook, photographs, and smaller preparatory sketches to guide the creation of the painting. Though I may start with a general direction I leave myself open to big changes as I paint, much like planning a route ahead of time through a wild place and having to revise and reroute as unexpected obstacles arise. I leave room for chance and intuition to enter into the process. The paintings evolve, and while some refer to real places, others spring from composite memories of shapes or vistas. All are a record of what is for me of the essence in these landscapes, whether they are in Iceland, the Canadian Rockies, or the American Southwest.
WhatsArtBlog by Carol Taylor-Kearney. The paintings and collages of Pia De Girolamo are heavy like the land and the animals that they portray. Part of the reason for this is that they are large, part is that they are shaped like blocks—either squares or horizontal rectangles, and part is the thick application of paint. This is an artist who is not afraid to move the paint around and make unexpected color choices. Not that the skies are not blue, sometimes they are, as well as pink and yellow, gray and white. But the sky is painted as solid as the ground plane becoming another delineated shape on the canvas, not atmosphere or weather. This lends itself less to creating an expanse with depth as a space that is divided and mapped. Which, of course, made me think of all the mountain paintings of Marsden Hartley and some by Milton Avery. And I began to relate to these paintings differently than I would a plein air painting or a more traditionally painted landscape, not as a report on what mountains look like but what it feels like to be dwarfed by the mountain, to be moving from one part of the terrain to another, to be IN THE MOUNTAINS as a solid figure measuring time through spatial distribution.
Marathon Literary Review. A biannual literary magazine of Arcadia University's MFA in Creative Writing. A selection of my paintings are featured in Issue 11 February 2017.
New and Now 2016. Online Show. Curated by Artspan Contemporary Art: Artist Website Builder. Artspan Contemporary Art. February 2016.
Artspan Contemporary Art. Mixed media work, "Woods out Back" selected for article on Autumn Light, Sept. 2014.
Don Brewer, DonArtNews Philadelphia Art Blog Review of Pyramid Club Solo Show & Artist Interview
The Pyramid Club sits high on top of the Mellon Tower at 17th and Market Streets on the 52nd floor, it’s iconic pyramid was lit up in pastel color. The club is hosting the artwork of M. Pia De Girolamo, the bold, abstract paintings with naturalistic elements fill the hallways outside of the dining room and bar creating a distinctly urban vibe. David Rocco of David Rocco Gallery, the artist’s representative gallery, describes Pia’s paintings, “There’s a magnetism there, something comes though in every piece,” The term ‘magnetic’ is apropos with hints of the natural world swirled into abstract marks and broads strokes of paint. Some of the paintings are painted thickly with high contrast colors, others are thinly painted, almost like watercolor, with elements of Autumn fields, far away cities or dreamy thought experiments... Read more at http://www.donartnews.com/m-pia-de-girolamo/
21 Artists to Watch in 2013: From www.skinnyartist.com:
We’ve often talked about how a lot of creative artists get detoured along the way.Their childhoods are often filled with art, color, and music but later when they become an adult — job and family responsibilities often put their creative life on hold.That’s not unusual.What is unusual is for one of these creative kids to go out and earn themselves a medical degree and practice medicine for over a decade before returning to their art. As you’ll soon discover, however, Pia De Girolamo is far from your typical creative artist.
Pia is not just an extremely talented abstract artist, but the sheer variety of her work is stunning.You see just beneath all of those abstract shapes, squiggly lines, and swirls there often lies a hidden form whispering to your subconscious mind to pay attention,that things are much more than they seem...The continual movement of lines and shapes mesmerizes the conscious mind while the subconscious quietly absorbs the simple forms beneath, which evoke an almost spiritual and meditative quality. Read more at http://skinnyartist.com/21-artists-to-watch-in-2013/
Philadelphia Inquirer, Victoria Donohoe, "A Little Science". June 26, 2009. Review of "Spring Exhibtion 2009", Lankenau Institute for Medical Research Gallery.
Montgomery County Town and Counry Living, Winter 2008 issue. Painting, "Venezia" featured in the Enjoy section, p. 10.
Review of "On My Way" by Victoria Donohoe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Montgomery County Neighbors, 9/30/07:
Pagus Gallery. Pia De Girolamo, a physician who gave up a private practice of medicine after 12 years to devote her energies to painting, shows abstract paintings at Pagus in Norristown.
These are unpremeditated acts of creation in which feeling is paramount. Using acrylic paint on paper, this Ambler artist, often working large, mingles a bold, thorough traditionalist's concern for drawing with an unusual, highly effective way of conveying the power of light and color directly.
Distinguished by broad, brushy, autographic gestures often in bright hues, her works in this strong show allow chance associations to suggest theme and image.