In this age of instant digital image sharing and reproduction, the alchemical memory of the human hand leaving a colored smear of humanity across the rough surface of a canvas is uniquely singular.
These 17 portraits are translated from digital snapshots of each sitter’s meditation on loss and remembrance of a common friend and family member: Austin Peralta. Austin lived with incandescent intensity, his virtuosic music, charisma and passion for life searing and illuminating each person he encountered. And just as they were affected by his presence, they are all equally affected by his absence. These paintings stand witness to his transcendent influence.
Orange is woven throughout the paintings. A holy color worn by Buddhists and Hindi Sadhus alike, with the respective goals of nirvana and liberation. Of course orange was Austin’s favorite color and it, like Austin, unifies the series.
This series is a gift to Joni, Austin’s mother; a gift to those whose portraits were painted; and ultimately a gift to myself from Austin.
This show is dedicated to Austin Peralta, October 25th, 1990 – November 21st, 2012. The truest artist I’ve ever known.
John S. Couch and Joni Caldwell