Park of Dreams: On Maria Calandra

Park of Dreams: On Maria Calandra

ART FOR CHANGE and Prospect Park Alliance present Park of Dreams, a public art exhibition featuring larger-than-life work by leading New York-based contemporary artists, on view now through Spring 2024. Included in this exhibition is Brooklyn-based artist Maria Calandra

Maria Calandra explores natural landscapes with vibrant palettes and gestural shapes. Inspired by her wanderings in the wild, she translates onto canvas the colors reflected on water, the twisting of tree trunks and roots, the repeating lines and organic structures of nature. Dense with detail, purposefully lacking depth, the paintings channel a stream of consciousness, pulling from both the real and imagined. Using a form of automatic painting to guide her mark making, she makes connections between observation and memory.

Maria Calandra’s Time of the Zinnia is available for purchase at, with 5% of the purchase price, up to $15,000, of each limited edition print sold being donated to the Prospect Park Alliance. In keeping with all ART FOR CHANGE releases, artists will receive 50% of the net proceeds from each print sale.



Time of the Zinnia recounts a time when Calandra visited a farm near Hudson, New York, in which zinnias—favored by the artist for their vibrancy, variety, and peculiarity—bloomed throughout a field. Naturalistic yet psychedelic, the work features bright red flowers surrounded by striations of color that undulate across the pictorial frame. Calandra likens her process to automatism, allowing intuition to guide brush strokes across her canvases and drawing surfaces. Using photographs as a visual springboard to trigger personal memories, she listens to music as she paints, allowing sounds and vibrations to shape the resulting images. The artist will hand embellish the edition by adding two additional zinnia flowers, each placed in a unique position, on each print.

On her participation in the exhibition, Calandra notes: “My Pop grew up in Bay Ridge, and would tell me countless stories of his adventures in Brooklyn, including his summertime treks to swim in the Prospect Park pool during the 1950s. This is where my interest began; the park seemed bigger than life. When I moved to Brooklyn seventeen years ago, I would use it as my refuge. Prospect Park—buzzing alive with energy from each person, flora, and fauna—is an integral and important part of Brooklyn’s community. I want to give it all the support that I can, as it has given me so much inspiration.”

Installation view of Maria Calandra’s solo exhibition “Outskirts of Infinity” (2023) in Berlin. Image courtesy of GNYP Gallery.

Recently, Maria Calandra’s first exhibition at GNYP Gallery in Berlin dove head first into an exploration of nature, represented in all of its sublime power, indifference to the human scale, our considerations, and even our safety. In her work and in the exhibition, Calandra offers a fragment of a perfect system, an environment autonomous in its radiance, beauty, and existence. The works included in the show were representations of sites that the artist herself has visited, brought back to the viewer in all of their intensity. Additionally to her exhibition, Calandra’s work was recently shown at The Armory Show with Fredericks & Freiser alongside artists Caroline Absher, Kate Pincus-Whitney, and Danielle Roberts, among others.
Maria Calandra’s Lazy Rainbow River, 2022 (Left) and Poppy Field in Provence, 2022 (Right).