Oil and pencil on canvas

30" x 40"




 I paint from family photographs, some dating back as far as the 1950s. I don’t consider my work a literal representation of these photographs, but an interpretation of them and of memory itself. My paintings focus on the nuances in people’s expressions and the undertones conveyed by people alone or in groups, as I try to draw attention to what is unnoticed, unstated, or beneath the surface in our interactions. I distill these interpretations into the paintings.


It’s important to me that my paintings prompt a sense of questioning in the viewer, that they disrupt in some way the viewer’s expectations or preconceptions. My work has been called “psychologically taut,” falling somewhere closer on the spectrum to provoking than comforting. 


This is related to the fact that many of my subjects are people with developmental disabilities. I initially began painting my late sister, who suffered from schizophrenia and other impairments, in an attempt to explore my relationship with her. I was struck by the open and unguarded expressions and attitudes of people who suffer from disabilities, which prompted my exploration of this subject matter, but my work goes beyond any category or group of people to explore what is universal in our experiences.


"Visiting Day, 1985" Al Desetta


    Emerge Gallery & Art Space

    228A Main Street, Saugerties, NY  (845) 247-7515

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