From Sara Pooley on her curation of “Classical Mechanics” at the Averill and Bernard Leviton Gallery:
“All of us grapple with our histories, both personal and cultural, in an effort to develop an identity and sense of purpose. For the exhibition Classical Mechanics, each featured artist has been asked to critically analyze the external forces that have influenced the trajectory of their lives. What circumstances lead to these interjections and what shape does the redirection of energy take? In an effort to achieve a deeper understanding of each other, our environments, and our selves, we search for clues from what came before.”
Months ago I had met up with Sara at a kitschy bar I worked in out in the Chicago neighborhood of Andersonville. I was tired, and it wasn’t because I had been working both in painting all day and working at the bar at night, but I was tired because the ghost of him was remerging in my dreams.
It had been four years since he had passed, and in those 4 years I rarely had him come back into my dreams. Nearing his anniversary however, the manifestation of him began to insidiously grow inside my head, even to the point where it grew into my waking days. I was plagued with seeing the face of my dead lover in other people. For weeks I noticed similar facial similarities of him in the random men I’d run into on the train, in a club, or just out walking on the street. I would see him as he was when we first met in the younger men, and I would see him as if he never passed away in the older men. This was the first time that this had happened since his passing, and the consistent returning to the event where he passed, kept on replaying in my head.
I had, for four years, procrastinated on painting his portrait. Mainly because I wasn’t sure how I would mentally handle it having to see his face over and over again every time I would return to the canvas. Secondly I had painted him before when he was alive and I did such an awful job because I’m terrible at painting men. The more that I procrastinated on not just painting him, but really mentally processing him and his death, the more that I began to see him manifest in my dreams and waking life.