THE WORK OF JENNIFER DITACCHIO
Charles Dort III
Ditacchio asks us
to enter a hybrid world composed of elements that signify mans monuments
and the natural world. The evidence of man overlies a shimmering plane
of light and color and nuanced texture. Natures shapes in these
worlds are stripped down, relieved of extraneous details. They flirt with
abstraction but are not, strictly speaking, abstract. The reference to
mans 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
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 lheure 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
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 artists central metaphor
is revealed. Paradoxically, the quietness in these paintings really isnt
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 cant 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.