Saturday, July 5, 2014

Painting to Remember...

Ara Bevacqua © Taylor Barnes 2014

This is one of my recent works on a series about the people and places that are disappearing from Venice Beach. It is easy to try and create a more layered and symbolic back story for a series of paintings but the truth is this was born out of a very simple observation.

One afternoon I was in the French Impressionist rooms of the Los Angeles County Art Museum and decided to sit and sketch a Pierre Bonnard painting of rural life in France. I sat there looking closely at these works and realized these painters were simply painting the life around them but the pieces had become invaluable because of their historical context. They chronicled a life that had disappeared. Upon reflection, I saw the same thing currently happening in my city of Venice Beach. The subjects of my paintings may be simplistic to the current observer but I hope that someday they will stand as a historic record of a life that disappeared here as well. I can never totally escape my journalistic tendencies.

Painting has a unique way of capturing the artist and the emotion of the subject. The evidence of the artist's hand in the work lends another level of emotional interpretation. As I work my way through this series I hope that each piece, when finally shown collectively, will offer a summary of palpable emotion for the loss of a way of life. Venice lives in a tenuous state of gentrification which is wiping out a once seemingly indomitable creative spirit.

In the tradition of the Impressionist painters, who ventured out into a Paris of another era, they painted their city because they loved what they saw - I am doing the same with my Abbot Kinney Blvd., the Ocean Front Boardwalk, and the rapidly disappearing Rose Ave. I can't seem to shoot my reference photos fast enough. But these paintings will be the record of my emotional connection to Venice. And then it will be time to move on because the Venice I know and love will be gone - except for within my paintings.