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Desert Ghosts

Desert Ghosts is a series of paintings and drawings devoted to the abandoned houses I observed while traveling in Southern California, along Route 66 and thereabouts. Some of them are decrepit farm buildings, others are sad witnesses of the housing crisis of 2008. Repossessed by banks and then intentionally made unlivable, they stand amid the vast and dispassionate desert slowly returning to the elements. Broken walls, torn wallpaper, a sofa thrown outdoors and yielding to harsh sun and wind, a children's toy, a woman's shoe -- a chilling, but eerily peaceful sight that caught my imagination.

From Olga Sokolova, a journalist:

So I followed the trail of arrows and dots, and indeed, I haven't yet seen these new works. When I looked at the whole sequence, everything came together in an integral chain of images, creating a feeling of ghostliness. It's interesting how the figure resembles you, but is not quite yourself -- as in #17 (Desert Ghosts), which can be read in different ways: it could be a house where a guest has found herself, or it might not be a house at all, but a kind of reality shift, something happening to the guest, her own alternative reality... In short, the figure in the painting can be interpreted in various ways, and that's what draws the attention: perhaps it's one of the artist's avatars, or the artist herself. This creates a "reverse vision" effect: not only does the author observe the scene, but the scene also looks back at the author.

That's why the figure cannot stay neutral with respect to the author, because it's on a collision course with the unseen side of reality, and a feeling of undefinable danger hangs in the air. Perhaps that's what gets to you, that it's ultimately left undefined.

One thing is clear: the girl in red (#19) shouldn't enter the dead house, because she will not remain herself, can't stay a mere observer, and so in #20 (Dorothy) someone's silhouette is suddenly revealed... But it has the outline of the same girl, and here an invisible reality commandeers the space, as in the very beginning of a nightmare, where you try not to believe in it, to hide behind something familiar and safe.

As the dream gains power over you, in #21 (Scena) there's no longer anything familiar to hide behind. I would place #22 (Gas Station) earlier, it seems closer to the beginning of the dream. On the other hand, as I said, the undefinable is scarier. One way or another, these five paintings I mentioned seem to fit in a kind of a common plot (whereas #18 belongs, perhaps, to a different context).