We are living in a strange civilization. Our minds and souls are so overlaid with fear, with artificiality, that often we do not even recognize beauty. It is this fear, this lack of direct vision of truth that brings about all the disaster the world holds, and how little opportunity we give any people for casting off fear, for living simply and naturally. When they do, first off all we fear them, then we condemn them. It is only if they are great enough to outlive our condemnation that we accept them. “Always we would try to tie down the great to our little nationalism, whereas every great artist is a person who has freed themselves from family, nation and race. Every individual who has shown the world that way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a “universal” without patriotism, without home, who has found their people everywhere, a person whom all the world recognizes, accepts, whether they speak through music, painting, words or form”. (Robert Henri)
I am an American artist in harmony with the philosophy of Robert Henri as expressed above, and rooted in the humanistic, figurative tradition. Robert Beverley Hale, at the Art Students League, and Henry Hensche, at the Cape School of Art, were important for my formation as an artist. Many years ago I came to Italy and chose to live and paint in the south, in Naples and the Amalfi Coast. I wanted to paint life and not just study the past grandeurs of the artistic tradition. Naples and southern Italy offered me the possibility to do both.
I spent some time in the north studying church fresco and renaissance techniques but the south continued to call and inspire me, like an unconscious memory. Southern Italy has suffered eleven dominations in seven centuries and has the depth of an oppressed people and thus, as a subject, contains a universality despite its provincialism. The best an artist can do, given a new situation is to produce a lyrical reaction to the environment that confronts him. Preferable to a rendering from the outside or a visual description of a voyage, an inward reflection with a knowledge of the subject in mind, make a work that, I hope, is more sincere and original.