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Jace lived in perpetual state of anger. Everything annoyed him. It could be something as inconsequential as receiving his neighbors mail by mistake or as serious as being rear ended when leaving the deli. It all had the same importance and level of seething frustration. He found it impossible to relax. He was a kettle always boiling. He tried herbal teas, but the mellow and sunshine demeanor of the health food store staff set him on edge. His incessant and quickly accelerating finger tapping on the check-out counter brought on a request to chill. But telling a guy like Jace to chill only has the opposite effect. Bellowing “who are you telling to CHILL!” was met by wide eyed bewilderment and a request to never return. He worked out at a gym to try and ease his temper. Tense scene were created by Jace’s bitter mumbling, grunting and irked slamming of weights. The plus was he did make friends with some very large and just slightly less angry people.
Therapy was tried. But as each week’s session neared ending the therapist would peek at his watch. At first Jace tried to ignore it. Each week the expectant glance at the watch ate away at him. Jace tried deep breathing exercises to distract himself, but this only made him breath heavier and focus even more on the “looking at the watch”. At what was ultimately his last session, Jace brought in an alarm clock and hurled it at his therapist.
Cora always seemed to be crying. It did not matter if it was an upsetting memory, a great joke or spicey food. Sad tears, happy tears, laughing tears, pained tears, and tears that could not be understood. Remembrances of late family members or commercials for animal shelter would cause misty watering eyes. Good times with friends celebrating career advancements, her nieces and nephews’ graduations, weddings, favorite sit-coms, and videos of chihuahuas with little sombreros brought joyous tears. Her close friends expected Cora’s tears and always brought along extra tissues for her.
Saturday night at The Bella Terra Dinner and Dance Club. Cora was there to celebrate her little sister Carla’s birthday . Sittings at the bar waiting, sweet memories of Carla as a little girl came to her. Her eyes moistened. Cora then thought of her late father. He would have been so happy to see how grown-up Carla became. She was only 12 when he passed away. Moistened eyes now led to trails of running tears.
Jace was also at The Bella Terra to dine and share peeves with his weightlifting pals. His was early and went to the bar to get a drink. All the seats were taken which exasperated him. Trying to get the bar tender Billy’s attention, he wound up standing behind Cora . The music was loud which further irritated him. He started to wave his arms to get service. The tender at the other end the bar nodded at him, but kept talking on his phone. Now Jace was wildly gesturing. Finally the bartender came over. He mistook the rage in Jace’s eyes for being intoxicated. Jace yelled out, “I want a Negroni!”. The barman replied. “A Martini?, on ice?” “No!”, burst Jace. “A Negron!”. “All right, a Zombie no ice.” was the distracted reply along with a mutter of “jerk”. Jace’s temper was really erupting now. Enraged eyes, muscles tightened, hot blood speeding through veins and arms gesticulating in a frenzy. Cora did not notice this. She was lost in her memories. And crying.
Jace’s frantic gyrations started to draw attention. Depending on where one stood, it was not clear what was exactly was going on. Some saw an upsetting scene of a furious angry man yelling at a crying woman. Others, like Mimi and her friends only saw Jace and mistook his movements for cool dance moves. Inspired, they copied them.

24x24 acrylic gouache on canvas

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Comment by Resident Curator on March 5, 2023 at 9:33pm

Curator’s Comments:

I was thrilled to encounter your new work, Jace, on the site.  Having encountered your paired creative writing and painting before, I spent some time with the image before reading the accompanying narrative.  While I always find the description of the characters enriching as well as humorous, I wanted to completely experience the figures visually at first meeting.  Hierarchal scale is used effectively to create a central “loud” figure, and the cherry patterned wallpaper is a surprisingly stabilizing element. Of course the bright red cherry dots recede into the right side of the picture plane, creating depth within the rather shallow field. So while the wallpaper is far from static, there is a certain predictability to the repetition, which in itself functions as a sort of visual rest within the dense packed picture. The square format further creates visual tension among the compressed competing bodies. As with all of your viscerally detailed portraits, I delight at the dizzying and clashing designs on and within the cast of characters. The crying Cora creature is particularly animalistic, with long talon-like fingers.  Thank you for sharing this new chapter in painting and story. It doesn’t disappoint.

Resident Curator Views

Ms Kristen T. Woodward critiques of members art.


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