When I was just three years old, my parents travelled with me and my two brothers to Madrid for six months. My father was teaching art with a small group of Americans. I have very distinct memories of this trip, since that is the age when I first began to form memories. I remember the taste of the potato chips made on the corner, the butterscotch candy I ate at the bullfight, and the time I got lost when I went to the park with my father. I made my way back to our apartment, rode the elevator and rang our doorbell. My mother was surprised to see me standing there all alone.
Luckily my parents took several pictures of this trip. I remember these images from family slide shows. The memory of the photographs and the actual memories of my experience are now indistinguishable. Recently I've begun a series of paintings based on these old slides. I am drawn to these photos through a personal connection. But the other element that draws me to these photos are the strangers randomly captured on film some forty years ago. What were they thinking and where are they now? They have no idea I have been studying their singular gestures on one random day in Madrid.
This painting is called "Celebrating with Franco". The young girl in the foreground with the yellow coat is the same age I was at the time. I look back at her across a chasm of space and time, and wonder if she is making gazpacho tonight like I am.