Melinda Borysevicz, L’Immigrata, 2016

The artist writes: “It was inspired in part by a surreal scene here in the valley where I live (about an hour from the sea by car), where someone somehow got a huge old wooden boat and set it up as a restaurant. The valley itself is thought to have been a lake in pre-history, but as late as the Romans, it was marsh and even seasonally flooded enough that small boats were used. The Romans of course organized it, building canals and creating useable cultivatable land. It’s been cultivated ever since. My personal experience coming to this part of Italy has been playing the role of immigrant in a way. My great-grandparents emigrated from a place a couple hours away and were all farmers. So I’ve felt both at home and also completely at sea. My earliest experiences here (and even my recent ones) are full of small surrealities and I get a sense sometimes of people being a little absurd as well as tenacious– qualities that I happen to enjoy in a person, especially when they happen in the same person. It’s like everyone is an odd hero in their own story. This could probably be said of everyone, everywhere, but it has felt exaggerated in my experiences here. The painting has something to do with all these feelings. I’m in the gondola (I painted it after a trip up to Venice and had to use a gondola), my now-partner and his brother’s dog are on top. He’s holding a tool used for picking fruit. It has a crown-like ring, slots for the stem of the fruit, and a bag, where the fruit falls after you give it a tug.”

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