Beyond the technical aspects of making art, there is a language that allows us to truly see a work. All art exists within a structure of critical and historical knowledge that is constantly evolving and being reevaluated–just like language itself. For example, when I was teaching, I would make a drawing on the board and ask the class to identify it. It was very clear and precise, but no one ever guessed correctly that it was the Japanese character for rain.
A few years ago, a mysterious painting surfaced from an estate holding. It ended up for a time at our house, because its purchaser got wind that my husband restores oil paintings. The one catch — as is too often the case — was its sketchy provenance: No signature, no obvious artistic style. But it was old — older than most of the items that normally cross our path. And not American — probably Italian. How did it end up here? Continue reading “Hermit on a Dark Night”