The artist who created one of the most stunning American paintings has moved on, passed on, let loose, newly breathed, withered, exasperated, floated away into ... what? I don't know.
It is strange.
He painted a world that was not mine - not my experience, not my private history nor the history of my forefathers, but uniquely bound up in my sense of self - my nation identity. In his detail and specificity he reminded me of the individual stories within a distinct culture which contribute to the richness/tapestry/multiplicity/layering/cocooning/budding/germinating/honeycombing/mounding/melting pot/box of chocolates/hope chests/collection plate that is our America.
Glimpsing into the struggles - the wood framed homes, obviously built by hand, the pastures plowed so knowingly/expertly, the simple coverings masquerading as clothing - offers an insight into a hearty American work ethic that I like to acknowledge as something I know intimately- though distinctly different than anyone in his paintings.
In his worlds, he revealed something common and something admirable in the human spirit.
Thankfully for us, he felt compelled to record those revelations in paintings. Paintings which will continue to inspire us - to force us to reconsider our connection to the land and our potential as reflecting beings.
A print of his painting: Christina's World (one of my most favored possessions and a gift from my friend Akin) hangs in my room. It is a reminder, a recording, a document, a gift, a loan, a testament, a poem, a lullaby, a treasure, a friend, a contradiction, a.
His New York Times Obituary is here.