In 2018, I moved with my wife from New York City to a sleepy fishing village called Nobiallo on Lake Como in Northern Italy, where I recently returned to drawing and painting after a hiatus of twenty-plus years. Shortly after earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994, I left art-making behind, instead devoting more than two decades to human rights and environmental activism.

HanShan_025-retouched

Photo by Kayana Szymczak

Today, at a time when technology's perpetual acceleration is splintering society at its most fundamental levels and warping our cognitive schemata, painting allows me to instantaneously connect to centuries of historical artistic practice, and I am admittedly seduced by the simple, primordial act of smearing pigment across a surface to create an image, a record of my body in action.

Some recent work has been inspired by the history of the conflict between the partisans and the nazifascists in the villages, on the roads, and in the mountain passes surrounding my new home. Within my mostly abstract motifs appear figurative and landscape elements reflecting these narratives and my thrall to the ever-changing vista defined by the Lake Como and surrounding dramatic geography.

Toggling between abstraction and representation, introspection and protest, my compositions are visceral records of a process of personal reflection on political conflicts to which I have myself been a party, or philosophical lamentations in visual form, with an aim to evoke emotion and drama in gesture, movement, and color.