Plaques and Tangles
by Jeff Huntington
My father is a Vietnam Veteran and is in the advanced stages of
Alzheimer’s disease. His name is Ted. He was diagnosed with dementia ten years ago and just celebrated his 70th birthday.
Ted has been in
three VA nursing homes since 2008. In addition to
receiving full-time care at the facility, our family pays to have a one-on-one private caretaker to be with him four days a week (he’s an excessive wanderer), while my mother,
siblings and I try to fill in on the off days.
After serving in Vietnam in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Ted worked as a
nurse until his memory began to undermine his competence. Ted also is an
artist and worked in various mediums, including ceramics, sculpture (wood,
stone, bronze), oil painting, photography and digital printing.
Sensing this could be a last
opportunity for him to exhibit while cognizant I, in 2004, assembled an art show in Maryland exhibiting 105 of his photographs spanning four decades.
A local newspaper ran a review titled "Snapshot of an Artist
I am a fine artist working in the medium of oil paint. My father introduced
me to oil painting at the age of eight. For the
past two years I’ve been developing a series of portrait paintings
titled "Plaques and Tangles," a reference to the abnormal accumulation and formation of proteins found in the brains of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Courtesy of Porter Contemporary
This body of work is inspired by my father--an homage to him. In June of 2010, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to show the first installment of this series in a solo exhibition at Reyes+Davis Independent Exhibitions in Washington, DC.
The subjects are my father, nieces and nephews. This work attempts to describe the composite nature of perception as well as the complexities of an emotional situation.
Painting from photographs, the early stages of my work often result in failed experiments, which then function as the underpainting to a composite image usually depicting disjointed fragments and multiple perspectives of the subject.
During this process, the initial image is sometimes lost entirely and a new portrait emerges, taking me into new areas of thinking. When the process is successful, the painting takes on a life of its own and the initial ideas are the underlying intelligence to the final image.
Some images from Jeff's exhibition Plaques and Tangles are available online at Porter Contemporary, a gallery in New York where he last exhibited his work.
About Jeff Huntington:
Jeff Huntington holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the
Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC and a Master
in Fine Arts degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In his career thus far, Jeff has participated in more than forty
exhibitions and won numerous awards.
His latest honors include a second place award in The Exhibition of
American Art at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, the Individual
Artist Award in Visual Art from the Maryland State Arts Council and The
Ethel Lorraine Bernstein Memorial Award For Excellence in Painting.
For more information about Jeff, visit his website.
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