• Don Kimes
  • Children in the Window, 2008
  • Acrylic and ink painting on digital ghost on canvas
  • 55 1/2 x 38 inches
  • Inquire

“In 1996, while living in Camerata di Todi, Italy, I wrote about my interest in what time and nature do to civilization. “In the end they take everything back, and Italy is a wonderful place to think about culture, nature and the passage of time. There is a strange beauty in that cycle.” Seven years later my home and studio were destroyed by a flood, causing the loss of 25 years worth of works on paper and most of the slides and photographs documenting my life’s work. Nature took everything back – interruption on what felt like a grand scale. I spent months obsessively peeling apart drawings, paintings and photographs, trying to salvage something. I didn‘t know why, but suddenly I found that same ‘strange beauty’ in them.

For the next three years I made small paintings based on the destroyed images. My work now is based on these studies: metaphoric works based on time, nature, memory, perceived loss and re-birth. The painter Julie Langsam recently wrote that my work “deals with recovery and reinvention, resurrection and recreation – the image literally regenerated by nature and intention.” To put it in even simpler terms: I am using the second part of my life to re-paint the first. The flood turned out to be a gift, an exquisite interruption.

While my work is based on autobiographical experience, the notion of searching for one’s humanity in the face of loss on a microcosmic level relates to the collective experience many have shared in the face of destruction – Japan, Katrina, or Pompeii for that matter. Art exists outside of time and mortality. Like the frescoes in Pompeii, it can be lost, forgotten and buried, but then rediscovered. At its highest level it is capable of transcending language, time, culture, and our own individual existence. There is a strange beauty in that cycle.”

Don Kimes