January 7, 2022
Happy 2022 Everyone.
I now present my new set of 12 paintings titled OPEN SEASON. They were completed over the last 6 months, starting in August 2021.
As in most of my paintings there are layers of interwoven meaning and anecdote. The recurring themes of nature conservation, ethical treatment of animals and commentary on our digital society persist. ‘Open Season’ is a direct reference to trophy hunting. The eco vigilante in me will never go away. There is also the self referential aspect, just like in the last set, ‘Who Am I?’. OPEN SEASON became expansive in scope, encompassing the idea of time, as in the seasons, and the seasons of one’s lifespan. And for additional seasoning, I threw in some sociopolitical heat.
It is inevitable that whatever an artist paints, his or her personal circumstances and state of mind at that moment will find its way into the mix and dominate it.
One night in September 2021 I experienced extreme blood loss from a ruptured hemorrhoid and severe dehydration from diarrhea. I became so weak I collapsed to the floor and injured my face, requiring stitches on my upper lip. I went to the emergency room of the local hospital and was admitted there for 8 days. Before the real cause of the bleeding was detected and corrected with surgery, I required 6 blood transfusions.
Needless to say, the wonderful hospital staff, doctors and anonymous blood donors saved my life. I am grateful to still be alive.
The physical experience of intense rectal anguish and the unforgettable prospect of having almost died naturally found its way into the new work, which had already been in progress for months. I developed a new relationship and perspective on blood, my blood, as I lay around for hours watching the liquid organ slowly enter my depleted bloodstream, drop by drop, from a suspended blood unit.
The hospital downtime was like a mandatory vacation for me. It allowed me time to think about my life, mortality and where will I go from here once I am finished with the professorship. It also made me confront the question of what will happen to my estate, i.e., my life’s output of work, once I am gone. In that sense, OPEN SEASON, with 12 paintings, is my midlife calendar. You pick the painting and you match the month, its open to your interpretation.
A painting in progress is a condensed relationship. From the work’s inception on a blank piece of primed linen, with a few gestural strokes, the conversation begins. The failure rate is high at this stage, and if an image doesn’t work it may take many rewrites before I get any traction. There is also the test of time, which can take weeks to months. Usually at this point I do the mirror test, that is, look at the image backwards in a mirror. If it works backwards, it will also work forwards. When the relationship survives all the hurdles, I will run with it to the logical endpoint. As is my method, I work on the entire set of paintings simultaneously, so there are many conversations going on at the same time. When a piece is done, a sense of emptiness sets in. The relationship is over. The partner is no longer alive.
All works Copyright 2022 Paul Fortunato. All rights reserved.
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ROADKILLER 2 ( SORRY THE BRIDGE IS CLOSED)
Acrylic on linen, 166 X 118 cm., 65.5 X 46.75 in.
Acrylic on linen, 167 X 146.5 cm., 65.5 X 57.75 in.
I NEEDED SOME AIR
Acrylic on linen, 167 X 168.5 cm., 66 X 66.5 in.
Acrylic on linen, 147 X 166.5 cm., 57.5 X 65.75 in.
Acrylic on linen, 167 X 222.5 cm., 65.6 X 87.5 in.
REENTERING EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE (HEAT SHIELD)
Acrylic on linen, 167 X 222.5 cm., 65.75 X 87.5 in.
SHISKABARBERRA AND THE REVENGE OF THE HEMORRHOIDS
Acrylic on linen, 167 X 170.5 cm., 66 X 67 in.
Acrylic on linen, 167 X 171 cm., 65.5 X 67.5 in.
DON’T FUCK YOURSELF
Acrylic on linen, 166 X 187.5 cm., 65.5 X 74 in.
Acrylic on linen, 167 x 171 cm., 65.5 X 67.5 in.
THE DREADFUL DEATH OF ANOTHER CRUEL, INDIFFERENT DINODOG OWNER MOTHERFUCKER
Acrylic on linen, 166 X 235 cm., 65.5 X 92.25 in.
HERMAPHRODITIC GANESCHENTAUR SAVES ANOTHER BEAR
Acrylic on linen, 167 X 184.5 cm., 66 x 73 in.