The latter was the first painting after my father’s death in January 2014. It depicts the parish festivals that would take place at the local park. It featured a bandstand with brass band, cyclists before a race, a boxing match, hot dog vendor, and in the foreground, a man in his Sunday best, Borsalino hat and Clark Gable moustache my feather wore; at his side, a woman sottobraccio.
Also highlighted, a young man climbing a greasepole, an effort to claim his prize. There is meaning in the struggle, senseless to us and our stuffed refrigerators, but in a time when food was scarce, a whole prosciutto, a string of salamis, and other foods and goods would more than supplement the household. The man in his Sunday best is, too, about braggadacio, as are the sportsmen and community as a whole. The painting can be seen below, or at: Www.luigimonteferrante.com, while the original is in Perth, Australia.
Chemical Romance, on the other hand, was not so much about its meaning, or fondly held re-evocations, but a significant technical progress.
I had been struggling hard with its composition and actual painting, but as if by alchemy, it all came together.
And it is about curiosity, experimentation, a mixture of courage, bravado, and a healthy dose of foolishness, elements necessary to most endeavours.
But why did The Doscos, the painting herein, bring tears to my eyes?
Beauty, youth, industry, I celebrate.
My mother was a seamstress. I pored through fashion magazines, still do, awe struck by the beautiful women, clothes, setting, photography.
Beauty is Truth. Beauty is Power.
When I saw the original Birth of Venus in Florence, I was wholehear tedly moved, blown away. As for the males, I wish I was built like the Bronzi di Riace. Beauty, of course, takes on many, varied, and multiple forms, but sometimes, I would personally say always, Beauty is as perfect and indisputable as geometry, math, physics. And a bit of a mystery.
Is there more?
The night before I had slept poorly, uncertain about several features I was going to whitewash in the morning. I was sure of this during my nocturnal discomfort and amblings.
The setting. A factory, of sorts. My father worked in a steel mill all his life. A bit Victoriana, what with the copper and round boilers. I was going to obliterate the setting. It had been fine in a couple of previous paintings, three to be exact, no use for a revisitation.
Why not do a blue sky, palm trees, ombrellone?
These are, after all, my natural settings. And of infinite appeal.
Or maybe I could rework the background, a chiarioscuro, and place my couple in a club, a disco. Hm, I am going to reserve a place or two for that when I go to London in mid-November.
I worked at it, literally face to the board. I often make this mistake. I don’t often step back to glance at the entire picture. I simply forget, absorbed as I am into and by the characters and place as if I am plodding away after and through them with the aid of a walking cane, my brush.
When I did step back, at the end of this journey, my tears.
I like to look at this painting, this attractive young couple. I feel like I know them, always have. I feel like I am their father.
I am their father.
Chemical Romance, acrylic on wood, 105x75cm.
Memory & Loss/Festa, acrylic on wood, 105x75cm.