Independent Writing

by Charles Dort III
Williamsburg New York

Ditacchio asks us to enter a hybrid world composed of elements that signify man’s monuments and the natural world. The evidence of man overlies a shimmering plane of light and color and nuanced texture. Nature’s shapes in these worlds are stripped down, relieved of extraneous details. They flirt with abstraction but are not, strictly speaking, abstract. The reference to man’s structures, to his insistent insistence, is likewise, stripped, honed to a cipher.
They entice us along to the point where we experience something like a shock. It s the shock of recognition achieved with so little “information.” The information we are allowed is of the type which enables us to wander this symbolic world unhindered, breathing new air, thinking of new space and its possibilities. These possibilities hint at time and the nature of longing.
The nets, veils and barriers depicted in these paintings keep you at a distance, yet they are loose and airy and afford more than a glimpse of the world beyond, which beckons you in. The very fact that the barriers are there taunts one into wishing them away, finding some point of entry.
That point of access may be color and the emotion attached to it. Color in these pieces are imprinted with a vibration that speaks about morning or evening, the fabled l’heure bleu so dear to Continental Romantics. It is a time of visions and hallucination, a time of love and also of violence, of saints and devils. These places are heavy with an anticipation that their silence is about to be disturbed by something otherworldly. Ditacchio is also concerned with finding and depicting spaces that are sacred.
The idea of edges preoccupies Ditacchio, both literally and metaphorically. The physical space between panels of diptychs and triptychs are implied barriers, slowing down the process of reading these images, reining us in, keeping us from running too far too fast. These paintings beg us to linger, for they promise a glimpse of the sublime, of the eternal.
Edges are also part of the constructed tension, the push-pull of horizontal and vertical planes. The horizontals and verticals are painted with the same force and weight, even if the “negative space” is light and not an object. The surface qualities of the image and the paint, the nervous dance between transparent and opaque, glittering and matte are also responsible for the sense of wavering and shifting, a feeling of hovering above or slightly outside the place one wants to be in.
The imposed equality of the two directions, two forces, the vertical and the horizontal is the scheme by which the artist’s central metaphor is revealed. Paradoxically, the quietness in these paintings really isn’t what it seems. They are fraught with a crackling tension, similar to the atmosphere of a hot, late summer day, redolent with bright white light and cicadas. One longs for relief, the stillness can’t last forever, the spell will be broken.
The dissolution of the paintings stasis is cunning indeed. The emphatic right angle planes, mitigated as they are by veils and barriers, by the low-key yet insistently agitated paint, begin to cancel themselves out. The rectangles of image and paint begin to meld, right angles soften and bend, things start to spin. Our conscious world, Man and Nature, become one and the boundaries that held them apart dissolve. The square is replaced by the circle, the orb, the Godhead.