Anything that I see is “grist for the mill” when I am creating a visual story in my paintings. I love to combine representational images in ways that create visual narratives. Each work is deliberative, conscious and responsive to a particular set of prevailing emotions. Though my storytelling is personal, the true fascination of creation for me is that the willing viewer makes each piece an unending journey of expression and reinterpretation.
I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t thinking about or doing something that involved artistic expression. Growing up poor forced me to turn to any available materials for creative projects including egg shells, string, toilet paper rolls, and TV dinner trays. Most of my earlier adult work included art furniture, jewelry and photography. My life took me in many directions as I moved from Philadelphia to New York to pursue a career in theater, and finally to Los Angeles where I began teaching computer applications and graphic design. Aside from my diploma in graphic design, I am a self-taught, fine art, digital painter and only started painting at the age of 66, after a 43 year search for my biological father. Once I found out his identity, something happened to me. I felt like a giant part of my life puzzle had been put into its rightful place. It made me feel whole, and gave me a strong sense of self which enabled me to begin my next life chapter as a digital artist. I saw it as a miraculous and life-changing event.
I see my art as visual storytelling and any subject is grist for the mill. I love to juxtapose representational images to create personal narratives. Each work is purposeful, conscious and responsive to a particular set of prevailing emotions. I am not bound to any particular style of art. I always let the subject matter lead me to it. Whether the viewer sees the same story or invents a whole new scenario, it is the grand mystery and endless fascination of creation for me. I leave it to the critics and art aficionados to define it and do the labeling. As an “emerging artist” at age 69, I’m just thrilled to be out there (or anywhere for that matter), have my work seen and to be part of the art conversation. I am honored and humbled by my experiences in dealing with the art world so far.
AWARDS AND JURIED EXHIBITIONS
LAS LAGUNA GALLERY – “Landscapes” – Online Exhibition February 4th-27th. – 2021 – “Breaking Through”
SAN FERNANDO VALLEY ARTS & CULTURAL CENTER – “New Beginnings” – Online Exhibition January 2021 – “Narciso”
CALIFORNIA ART LEAGUE – “Holiday Art Exhibit” – Online Exhibition December 2020 – Honorable Mention Award – “Sunflowers”
CITY OF SANTA CLARITA – “Landscapes of the Mind” – City Hall Lobby – December 4 through March 19 2020 – “House and Fog on the Central Coast,” “Windmill and Poppies“
CALIFORNIA ART LEAGUE – “Holiday Art Exhibit” – Online Exhibition December 2020 – “Orchid,” “House and Poppies,” Pájaro del Paraíso,” “Bamboo,” and “Sunflowers”
ART ROOM GALLERY – “Trees and Fields” – Online Exhibition – Finalist – November 2020 “House and Poppies,” “House and Fog on the Central Coast,” and “The Promise”
LOS ANGELES ART ASSOCIATION – “Aurora” – Online Exhibition – November 2020 – “ The Promise”
LIGHTSPACETIME – “Open Exhibition” – Special Merit Award – Online Exhibition November 2020 – “Sunflowers”
GREY CUBE GALLERY – “Faces” – Online Exhibition November 2020 – “Facing Shadows”
LAS LAGUNA GALLERY – “Portraits” – Online Exhibition November 5th – November 20th 2020 – “Narciso“
LOS ANGELES ART ASSOCIATION – “Festoon” – Online Exhibition – October 2020 – “ Warrior Mom”
ART ROOM GALLERY – Artist’s Choice” – Online Exhibition – Finalist – October 2020 “Emerald City” and “Purple Tulips“
LOS ANGELES ART ASSOCIATION – “Make Plain” – Online Exhibition – October 2020 – “ Childhood”
LAS LAGUNA GALLERY – “2020 Political Discord” – Online Exhibition October 1st – November 3rd – “red WHITE and blue“
FUSION GALLERY – “3rd Annual Women’s ‘Art Show” – Honorable Mention, Online Exhibition September 15th-December 14th 2020 – “Sunflowers”
LOS ANGELES ART ASSOCIATION – “Non sequitur”” – Online Exhibition September 2020 – “Home Furnishings”
GREY CUBE GALLERY – “City Art Show” – Online Exhibition September 2020 – “Childhood”
LOS ANGELES ART ASSOCIATION – “Exalted One” – Online Exhibition August 2020 – “Queen Rose A“
LIGHTSPACETIME – “Animals” – Online Exhibition August 2020 – “Her Royal Heinie NOODLE of Marina del Rey“
GREY CUBE GALLERY – “Seasons” – Online Exhibition August 2020 – “Bamboo” and “Poppy Jane“
ART ROOM GALLERY – “Botanicals” – Online Exhibition July 2020 “Multi-colored Flowers” and “Orchid“
LOS ANGELES ART ASSOCIATION – “Field of Vision” – Online Exhibition July 11-24 2020 – “Red and Yellow Flowers”
LOS ANGELES ART ASSOCIATION – “Indistinct Chatter” – Online Exhibition July 1-10 2020 – “The Forgotten”
CALIFORNIA ART LEAGUE – “Change” – Online Exhibition July 2020 – “Royal Pain”
LOS ANGELES ART ASSOCIATION – “Gleaming Apollo” – Online Exhibition June 2-11 – “Dreaming of Paris”
GREY CUBE GALLERY – “Portrait” – Finalist, Online Exhibition June 2020 – “Steampunked at 4 am”
SAN FERNANDO VALLEY ARTS & CULTURAL CENTER – “Art in Crisis” – Online Exhibition April 2020 – “Sheltered”
LOS ANGELES ART ASSOCIATION – “Seclusion” Online Exhibition April 9-17 2020 – “Multi-Colored Flowers”
REFLECTIONS ELEGANTE FINE ART GALLERY-Solo show March 2020 – 14 pieces – AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
REFLECTIONS ELEGANTE FINE ART GALLERY-Gallery Opening-December 2019
ART ROOM CONTEMPORARY GALLERY – “Portrait” – Online Exhibition February – March 26 2020 – “Steampunked at 4 am”
SAN FERNANDO VALLEY ARTS & CULTURAL CENTER-Exhibition February 2020 – “Multi-colored Flowers” “Purple Tulips”
ROUND HOLE SQUARE PEG 4 – PHOTO LA – Exhibition January-March 4th 2020 – “Don’t Look”
FUSION GALLERY – “Leaves and Petals” – Finalist, Online Exhibition December 2019 – “Multi-colored Flowers”
LIGHTSPACETIME GALLERY – Special Recognition, 9th Annual All Women Art Online Exhibition December 2019 – “Steampunked at 4 am”
EDUCATION: M.A. – University of Illinois; B.S. – Temple University; Teaching credentials – UCLA; Diploma – Platt College of Art & Design.
WHY I PAINT
My early years were filled with sadness, violence and insecurities, a clichéd set of circumstances that could fuel the romantic notion of any 19th century artist to be sure. But that’s not why I paint. When I was twenty-three years old, my mother, in a fit of rageful retribution for being told that I was gay, decided to call me long distance and tell me that I was adopted. She was my biological parent but my father wasn’t. Over the years she told me that my biological father could have been a host of characters including a gangster, an actor, a musician and a random stranger. To me, the phrase “could have been” told me much more than I ever wanted to know about my mother who was 15 years old when she got pregnant with me. A massive emotional hole opened up which prompted me to begin a 43 year search for my father and his family. I felt like my life was in some kind of terminal nightmarish limbo. Over the years, I found cousins and other distant relatives on Ancestry.com, message boards and other websites. I even hired a private detective at one point when I was feeling particularly desperate for results. Finally, at the age of 66, after 43 years of searching, I found a first cousin on Ancestry. After numerous lengthy e mails and phone conversations we determined who my father was. Then I saw his high school photo. David Lewis Persky. He had already been dead for many years. I learned that I also had a brother who died as a child in a horrible accident. They were both buried in a cemetery which was 20 minutes from my house. I had moved from Philadephia/New York area to Los Angeles years ago as had my father. Unbeknownst to me, we had been living in the same city for years, just a few miles apart. I was so overcome with emotion that I cried for 24 hours without stopping. I was overcome with sadness and joy. I was brought to my knees. I saw my face in his. I saw my past. For the first time in my life, at age 66, I was able to create a family tree (which by-the way, includes Lauren Bacall and Simon Peres). And then something miraculous happened. I looked at my family tree and that hole in my heart, that emptiness dissolved. I physically felt it happen. I sat down at my laptop the next day and began to paint and I haven’t stopped since. I paint to rejoice in my discovery. I paint to uncover what could not be revealed before. I paint to stay alive. I paint because I am compelled to communicate with a confidence that had previously been unattainable for me. I paint to leave something behind, a legacy of discovery. I paint to give gifts as “thank yous” for kindnesses rendered. I paint because I can. I paint because this was always who I was and can now unmask.
A friend recently visited the house and saw my art for the first time. She said something that made an impression on me. She said, “Rene, you spoke of your art and I knew it was in you but now I can see it. There you are, Rene. There you are.” Here I am, indeed.