I began thinking about the concept of home after returning to San Marino in 2016 to help my elderly father, who is currently living in the house my parents bought in the mid 70s. I hadn’t spent much time there since graduating from San Marino High School in 1978, and eventually moving to New York City in 1991. Until recently New York was my home; it was where I established deep relationships of friendship and love and finally started to paint regularly, creating my identity as an artist. (If I remember correctly, I got a B+ in the one art class I took in high school.) However, spending months in San Marino has made consider the idea of home as more than a single geographic location, but rather a work in progress, an evolving conglomeration of places, memories, past and future.
My paintings have always been inspired by my environment and initially, returning to San Marino was a disorienting experience. There was a greater emotional connection than I expected as well as a great sense of visual nostalgia, especially given that the multi colored sectional sofa that my mother purchased in 1974 still dominates the living room, sharply contrasting with the greenish shag rug that she purchased a year later. But it wasn’t just the interiors I’ve had to adjust to as I was now living in the suburbs, among the beautifully landscaped single family homes of San Marino as opposed to the Manhattan’s crowded canyon-like streets. The natural environment was completely different, and most importantly, the light was different. As a result, I was drawn to unexpected details as I started to revisit a formerly familiar territory both in terms of memory and physical place.
The ebb and flow of the overlapping leaves and branches in the dappled light outside my window certainly influenced my work, but surprisingly, I was most fascinated by the layers of sedimentary stone I discovered while exploring the nearby San Gabriel Mountains. The discrete yet complex nature of the cross-sectional strips of minerals; one layered upon the next over the course of centuries resonated with me. The patterns were beautiful, and this geology somehow provided a visual metaphor for the concept of home that I had been contemplating upon returning to San Marino.
This series of paintings are an intuitive exploration of color and form, in an attempt to create a metaphor that represents the layered complexities and uncertainties of returning to a place where one (I) once lived at a different point in life. Notions of love, family, community, memory and loss all play a part here. There is movement, evolution and mystery, but most of all there’s an attempt to incorporate the past into a living, breathing present.