MY SURROUNDINGS INFORM MY PAINTINGS in both literal and metaphorical ways. Inspired by curiosity about the world around me, I want to deepen my encounter with its mystery, not solve it. I use my observations of the real world as the foundation for a painted one. Arranging pigments on a surface allows me to bring particular real-world observations into a sphere of contemplation.
I have an affinity for space and light carved by architectural forms. The classic window motif, with its art-historical associations of perception and painting, has offered a point of departure for my recent work. I consider the effect of the interplay of frames, glass, grids, screens, water, and dust on our gaze as we look through and at windows, reflecting the complexities of our ways of seeing.
My images often have subtle protean or shapeshifting attributes and usually include some semblance of an architectural aperture—a passage or threshold. The aperture offers a concrete structure by which light is shaped, in effect giving light a body. Light directs my attention to chromatic nuances, and by orchestrating relationships among colors, I can create a particular emotional or psychological tenor. I see my paintings and drawings as invitations to encounter a lived environment slowly, fully, and reflectively.
John Descarfino is a Brooklyn-based artist and professor of painting and drawing at Kingsborough City University of New York.