Troubled by the recent heart-breaking diagnosis of my father with Alzheimer’s disease, the theme of my first solo show is elegiac and of personal origin. My father is the subject of these paintings.
The title of this exhibition, as well as the titles of each piece in the show come from the E. E.Cummings poem, “anyone lived in a pretty how town”. It is a poem about loss, fraught with garbled language and filled with juxtapositions.
Cummings subverts convention turning the expected upside down. Verbs become nouns. Adverbs become adjectives.
But unlike Cummings, who purposely switches syntax around, I watch my father wrestle with language and slowly lose insight into his own deficit.
The way Cummings disrupts language is correlative to the perception I now have of my father because of Alzheimer’s. Someone who I thought was one way, following expected behaviors, no longer follows those rules.
Capable of remembering less and less, it is so difficult to watch him slip away. He had so far to fall.
I wanted to capture images of my father holding flowers as a way of preserving my memory of him as a sweet and generous man. At the core, he is a happy and fun-loving person.
Within each painting, I try to work toward the dramatization of texture and color using layers of found papers containing words and numbers.
What is lost is buried under layers. What emerges highlights what I want to remember.
Why show only the torso and flower bouquet? This man could be anyone. Holding a bouquet represents the hope we all hold: That beauty, softness and care can expand in one’s life even when parts of our ’selves’ are missing.