There’s something you can’t really explain, when you look at Jeffrey Larson‘s paintings for the very first time. What’s the hidden message, the mataphor behind them? – you may ask yourself. Then, after a couple of minutes of useless mumbling in which you try to rationalize the image in order to protect yourself from a seduction that is too immediate not to irritate your sense of pride, you suddenly understand there is nothing to explain, because that painting you are looking at is a window wide open to the deepest part of your senses, and what you have to do is just to let the image find a space into your heart or, like John Hillaby says – talking about the feeling you get after a 20 miles’ walk – to let it enter into your “skull cinema”. Larson is bigger than his biggest canvas. He can’t contain his exhuberance: you can look at him as a master of still life, both modern and classic, poetic but never self indulgent, profound and profane, iconic and ironic. Larson is also a fine observer of people (he likes to portray his own family or close friends, captured in the golden amber of idealized, bucolic moments). But his discreteness doesn’t let him get too close to their train of thoughts, and such distance makes “life still”. There’s a subtle but substantial difference between still-life and life-still, and a price to pay. Larson’s aesthetic sensitivity, along with his overprudent respect of people’s modesty, ends up painting only the surface of their personality. Nevertheless, his paintings are inviting breadcrumbs of light, fragments of a lost, bittersweet happiness nobody can paint without paying the toll of pinning the butterfly of time.


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