Monday, June 13, 2011

Letters From Home

Silent Sentinels, enamel on wood panel, 1969, Kandauer
  My father, Richard Gaston, a cartographer and publisher by trade, took up painting in the late 1940's. He especially loved the German abstract painters and invented his nom d'artist Kandauer, combining the names of German painters Wassily Kandinsky and Joseph Bauer.

After I moved away from home to make my own mark in the art world, Dad gave me one of his favorite pieces called Silent Sentinels. The work seems to say a lot about the artist - a person with deep and complex roots, but silent and closed off to the world. At least that is the feeling I had of him, perhaps reflecting some of my own cloistered insecurities.

Silent Sentinels has been a companion ever since, moving with me many times and becoming a featured piece in my growing art collection. Recently, some old letters from my father resurfaced and forced me to reconsider my ideas about him. Written in masterful cursive, the letters reveal the hopes, dreams and doubts of a man and an artist as he confronted himself and an often indifferent world.

The letters covered a brief time frame when I struggled with acceptance and my own sense of identity. Rereading them after forty years gave me a shiver and brought me closer than ever to a man I wished I had known better.

1 comment:

sandifolk said...

WOW..pretty heavy stuff there. He sounds like he would have been an amazing man to meet let alone to be his friend or son. I really love his art, but what June had on her walls just barely touched upon his many talents.

You are one lucky man, Denis..