The Father, The Son and The Negative Space

Before our son Luca was born, people would tell me they’d be curious to see how his arrival would change my art. I didn't give it much thought, but if it happened, I knew it would be a very transitional organic thing and not a decision. After Luca was born and he began to interact with his surroundings, I noticed myself observing the world he was discovering. Up until then my art was mostly from within; even the representational, like flowers I had painted before were abstract and total inner expressions. Luca's first contribution was to finally get me outside my head and explore the life that was around me. When he was around 3 years old, on our way back from daycare Luca asked if we could go inside the Catholic Church on our street. I had visited this church before, as I did other churches around the city, for the artwork and moments of silence you can find inside in the middle of fast-paced NYC.

In we went and I never addressed what this place was all about, who's house it was nor what anything inside it means. This was his experience, and for a few months it became a weekly visit at his request. To my surprise, his focus was always on the structure and architecture of the church and somehow, he came to believe this is where the statue of Liberty lives. I enjoyed our visits and miss those times in silence next to my son, contemplating the space and stillness. I personally enjoyed how the sun came in through the windows and how this would change the tones of the surfaces the light touched. Then something strange started to happen, as I continued painting, I began to hear people say, your paintings remind me of stained-glass windows. This really took me by surprise, because it never occurred to me, but when I reexamined my Negative Space series, I saw the correlation.

Since this is something I’ve been exploring more and more in my paintings, it’s taught me that like a light through a window, arriving at a new aesthetic or a style if you will, is not something you can force or control. It descends upon you like a surface, in the moments you’re fully present. As my search has turned to exploring the shadow and inner child, I can’t help to see a metaphor and the realization that even a cracked window can continue to let light in. This is one of Luca’s many contributions. But more than my art, I know he has change me, and I’m grateful for that.


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