Love is a Place
IT WASN’T FAR AWAY OR DIFFICULT
The time has come
when life that is lost no longer hurts,
when lust is a useless light
and envy is forgotten. It is a time
of wise and necessary losses,
it is not a time for arriving, but for going away.
It is now that love
finally coincides with intelligence.
It wasn’t far away or difficult.
It is a time that leaves me only the horizon
with which to measure solitude.
The time of protective sadness.
- Joan Margarit i Consarnau
For over a decade, I have lived and worked between the United States and Barcelona. The rich Catalan literary heritage and stunning landscape of mountains and sea have come to deeply and profoundly influence my work.
These paintings are directly inspired by the poetry of Joan Margarit (1938-2021). Margarit was a practicing architect and professor as well as poet, and was one of Spain’s most widely acclaimed contemporary poets. Much of his work deals with love, profound loss, self-doubt, and confronting the worst that life can throw at us. He writes with melancholy and candor, lovingly and hauntingly about memory, loss, and regret. Margarit uses his experiences of growing up in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil war and the harshness of life in Barcelona under Franco, as well as the death of his beloved daughter, weaving Catalunya's cityscapes and the landscape of mountains and sea as metaphor for love and pain. Reading his work creates a visceral reaction in me. These paintings are a way for me to walk in his steps – to be "in the poem" – the images he conjures, places I too know and feel a deep, soulful connection to. Many of the titles in this series come directly from excerpts of the poems.
Working to capture shadow and light, I paint in thin washes. Multiple layers are reduced, wiped away, and then painted over, layer by layer, again and again. With thin washes of paint, the linen texture – the weave and “imperfections” in the material – eventually seeps through, becoming an integral part of the final work. This gives the work body, physical presence, and object quality. The different degrees of density result in varying nuances of light within the painting – areas which reveal a certain depth. Hints of land, clouds, and other forms seem to appear – nuances which arise from the painting process – perhaps to be viewed as articulating remnants of vague memories. The final results evoke ethereal, dreamy emotional landscapes – each work a small meditation, a visual poem.