The Primavera Paintings

They say that a writer should write about what *he knows — so I guess a painter might very well paint what he knows. I say this because it’s just dawned on me that my father’s painting’s are deeply, powerfully influenced by his childhood home in the dark mists of Pennsylvania. More than that though, it’s a landscape that I have been slowly getting to know from afar; but as I sit in front one of his nameless canvases, something is clicking in my head. My dad left America for good when he was twenty-something, and I grew up listening to him wax lyrical about Sugarloaf Mountain, the Knotty Pines, and the coal mining town where he spent his early years. The place existed in my mind as a 1960’s hubbub of groovy music, drive-thru diners and waitresses on skates: An eight-year-olds American Graffiti. More pop than his painterly Brigadoon-like depictions. When I was twenty, I packed my little English bags and moved to Pennsylvania for a year to study. I lived in a town known as ‘Happy Valley’ at the foot of Mount Nittany where girls sunbathed on the campus grass and footballers strode head and shoulders above the rest of us. Outside of the valley though, things changed. Pennsylvania has a mythic beauty to it. It’s dark, and forested. The mountains are ancient and low and the alien history of Pennsylvania is thrilling and a bit weird to me. To be out alone in it is terrifying— mainly because if you’re alone in the forest, you really are on your own. Picture a thick crowd of pines on a mossy peak (AKA the mount’in behind Aunt Betty’s). It’s winter, and the bears are asleep. It’s cold, unbelievably cold and Black Creek runs though the rock crystallising into people sized icicles. Almost everywhere is rural, and in each town, you’ll find a blue sign which the local people staked into the ground mentioning, more often than not, some historic massacre. All of this is to say that the pop culture image of my father’s childhood home which I originally saw, is only a tiny fraction of what he experienced. Granted, I’m viewing it through my own lens, and what’s eerie and beautiful to me is something else to him. But interestingly, his paintings sort of match my current image of the place. His stories are saturated with people and fun, but his paintings are as I mentioned before an American Brigadoon. Primavera in Cambridge is currently showing Michael Apichella‘s latest collection of paintings. The gallery on Kings Parade is filled with eclectic pieces, and from room to room you’ll find sculptures, ceramics and woodwork. He has recently exhibited at Nord and his paintings hang in Finland, America, Wales and England. Take a look!

*or she IMG_3829 IMG_3830 IMG_3831

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