Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Father Figures

A father's journey grows from the abstract to the specific figure to focus on. Not wholly coincidentally, that is the journey described by Helen Park Bigelow in David Park, Painter: Nothing Held Back her tribute to her father.

Her celebration of her father is also part memoir. Once he was bold with a brush, the most important figure in his family and celebrated as part of a larger art movement. And then he grew, becoming more self-contained in his work and celebrating the person or people in front of him (above, Two Heads), not himself by using his model. Park's body was recycled to the earth — he suffered from bone cancer while painting to the end — but his spirit continues through his daughter, a tribute to what happens when you go from the abstract celebration of "you" to the specific complement of the people in front of you.

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