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lines by long pauses, David Slader (Belmont)

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On view June 30th – July 31st
Opening Reception 4 – 6pm Sunday, July 20th 

In the Absence of A Bowl of Peaches

Why do I paint these weary, yet determined, men whose countenance hint familiarity with the dark and red of life? What would be so wrong with at least one panting of a nice bowl of peaches?

I truly don’t know the answer. All I can tell you is my wife’s theory. And she has a history of being right.

I don’t choose what I paint. The conscious, thinking, calculating “I” doesn’t make that decision. “I” don’t choose how the work is done, what tools are used, or whether a painting has green hair or a blue nose. All of those decisions are made in some way that I cannot write about because I don’t understand how they happen. Except for this: “I” decide when the painter puts down his tools.

The work is done when the intimation of a soul, however imperfect of form, is looking out at me from the easel. Then I say “stop,” scratch my name in the wet paint, and pour an Irish.

If, at some point down the road, a viewer comes along and senses in my work a trace of a suggestion of a human presence, then I will be satisfied. For he or she will have seen what I saw.

And now the theory:
For the last ten years, or so, of my career as a lawyer, most of my clients were men of my generation who had been sexually abused as children. They were bruised and tenacious men. I was often the first person that they trusted with their story. Together, we confronted the responsible institutions – often churches that had knowingly allowed pedophile clergy to stalk young boys. My clients were part of the team that forced the Archdioceses of Portland into a settlement that acknowledged the harm it and its priests had done to my clients – and to countless other children.

My wife, who sustained my soul through this work, thinks that that experience is expressed in my art and that these anonymous guys are my guys. At least, that is her theory. – DS