After experimenting with many artistic disciplines over the years, I returned for a while to a focus on painting. During this time in 2010, my main formal interest was in translating light’s effect on observed forms, specifically the mass of big, solid forms. Using heads as my subject allowed and assisted me in meditating on my identity, my heritage and my legacy.
Using small photographs (from picture IDs and cropped snapshots) as my main reference, I forced myself to consider how much visual information I could retrieve from these images, and how much I must make up. With that fabrication, what myths did I create around the men in the transition from photograph to painted portrait? How far did that veer from their actuality? How much of this was nostalgic transmogrification?
This kind of mythmaking led me to work on a small series of paintings of my father, also George Ratkevich, who died at the age of forty-four when I was five. My dad and I both had a son at the same age. When I painted this series, my son Gus was five, and I forty-four. As I painted the portraits of my father, I was reminded that I was living on time my father was not able to enjoy himself. My thoughts went to mortality, "what ifs", and the nature of a man's role as father, protector, advisor, trainer, god, obstacle. I saw these paintings as an opportunity to have a dialogue with "Dad", man to man, eye to eye, both the same age, having experienced the same and different things. Using myself as a physical model to fill in the lost bits, I attempted to pull my dad's spirit from faded Polaroids and grainy black and whites. The series partnered with the series of self portraits which also touched on the passage of time, roads taken and not taken, and the many different people we are and have been in our lives. The canvas became both looking glass and time portal.