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Comment by Jerry Ross on September 8, 2011 at 12:58pm

This painting is currently up through mid October at the Eugene, Oregon Mayor's Art Show, Jacob's Gallery. Here is a link:

 A painting of my wife, it shows Angela in a jeans jacket. the work is based on a trip to the Oregon coast with its marvelous light. The light and blue sky create a mood of optimism.,Kathy Caprario, who by the way has a magnificant wall paper painting in the same show, said, in her opinion the expression is contemplative, and serious. Moreover, the underpainted sketch (macchia) shows through in burnt sienna and, hopefully, I have stopped at exactly the right moment to declare the work "finished." .


The exhibit is an opportunity to explain how "American verismo" might work as an antidote for painting today, the vast majority of work of which exaggerates the importance, in my opinion, of the DaDa movement and the conceptual.. Personally I get more out of the Sapigliatura ("wild hair") movement of nearly the same time in Milan. Perhaps that constitutes the conceptual element in this "Angela a go go" portrait where the actual intent is verism. But a more modernized and existential kind of verism from Puccini that is hard to define. Maybe I just like the word verism.

Comment by Jerry Ross on September 5, 2011 at 7:01pm

I've been trying to perfect a personal style which I call "American verismo" which is based on the aesthetic theories of the I Macchiaioli, the "macchia" in particular.  I think I have achieved it in this portrait of my wife.  For further information see "The Art of the Macchia and the Risorgimento" by Albert Boime, professor of art history, University of California, Los Angeles.  Thank you for your comments!

Comment by Resident Curator on September 5, 2011 at 6:05pm

Curator’s Comments:


Thank you for bringing this piece to my attention.  I’m curious if this work holds any particularly significance for you?  It has the same captivating loose and tight organization of brushstrokes I’ve enjoyed in your other portraits. There’s a tension between these alternating disparate strokes, as the tighter areas reveal critical features which are underscored by less controlled painterly marks. The overall gestural handling animates the expression and mood, which I read as somewhat reticent.  The deep violet under the figure’s chin accentuates her face, while the broken color of her hair virtually dissolves into the light.  With the absence of distinctive apparel or costume the subject remains timeless, but the hot tonality of her skin reminds me of some of Robert Henri’s early portrait studies.  I do find it curious that the cloudlike background creates a pleasing atmosphere, but the lack of horizon doesn’t permit the figure to become grounded in the space.  Her squinted eyes could be interpreted as searching this unseen horizon, contributing to a sense of loss, or the forlorn.

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