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“My paintings are based on memories of places and experiences. Like memories, my paintings are shaped not by the forces of nature but by details that I have visually catalogued and indexed in my mind: the colors and forms that have made lasting impressions on me, the ones that visually connect me to a place or feeling. In painting from memory I retain a sense of naturalism but find freedom to stray from the boundaries of reality, to abstract for the sake of the composition, and to more clearly communicate a concept. This freedom, in turn, allows for spontaneity and exuberance in my application of paint. In my work I hope to remind the viewer that these spaces that are magical. These are the spaces that make life worth living and my paintings are to serve as a reminder that they are never too far away.”
Swimming Pool in the Woods (Roosevelt N.F.)
“I hope to make paintings that illustrate the magical world we live in. This series of paintings concerns the relationship between wild and manmade environments. The paintings act as a portal to an enchanted setting where the viewer may wonder about the origin and significance of the pool.
“The forest is a place of natural beauty, of creation and destruction, and an intricate balance of complex relationships. The swimming pool is symbolic of human intervention placed within this balanced arrangement. I am asserting that while humanity may assume ownership over land – that it will bend to our whim, give endlessly – the land does not enter into this agreement; it tolerates us as it outlasts us.”
Student Arts Program official selection 2017
See more of John’s work at johndefeo.com
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