John DeFaro

Green Paintings, Layering years

​​"My Green Paintings serve as a profound bridge between my present and past, weaving a visual narrative that encapsulates the authenticity of my experiences. This distinctive collection introduces a fusion of monochromatic and minimalist-style paintings and assemblages, embracing meticulously crafted surfaces alongside refined and layered compositions.

Exploring formal elements such as line and, above all, color, I combine references from the environmental, historical, cultural, and personal realms. The interplay between the formally composed and studied, and the free and instinctive, adds depth to the thematic exploration.

The unmistakable crisscrossed patterns of paint on my canvases evoke memories from my youth when mowing lawns in alternating crisscross patterns was a recurring ritual. This precision, embodied in the metaphorical cross-hatching of the paintbrush, mirrors the self-obligatory duty to measure up and enhance neighborhood curb appeal. Each stroke, layered over 37 coats of paint, symbolizes the irrevocable passage of time and echoes my journey as a 37-year survivor of HIV and drug abuse. In celebrating these years, each layer becomes a source of meditation and healing, responding to the temperature readings of the HIV/AIDS crisis and my narrative.

The subject matter, rooted in nature, encompasses traditional landscapes, assemblages of reclaimed organic matter, and depictions of flowers and trees. Reflecting on visits to the garden, my work explores the intertwined cultural significance of plush, green lawns with status, ego, and the American Dream of home ownership. Unveiling the harsh environmental impact of everyday lawn care, particularly through fossil-fueled equipment, my green paintings connect deeply with my commitment to protecting our shared planet.

The COVID-19 pandemic unraveled a universe of solitude, prompting a reevaluation of priorities. Childhood memories of visits to my late grandparents' home in Riverhead, NY, where a green-painted picnic table stood beneath an old maple tree, came vividly to mind. The layers of glossy paint on the table echoed a history imprinted by each annual 'freshening up' coat. In my painting and nature, the 'green' garden symbolizes my extended family and audience. Together, we work with respect, fostering a healing process that extends from self to the planet, emphasizing the profound connection between personal and environmental well-being."