There is unmistakable joy in the paintings of James Aponovich. Few still lifes are as unabashedly positive or as visionary. With their exuberant color, billowing clouds and twisting ribbons, these distinctive combinations of landscape and still life are mood-altering. Their vibrant light and almost palpable details seem to spill off the canvas, filling our senses like an exotic Tuscan meal. James is not just the painter; he is the chef, the gardener, the scholar. There is an art historian’s familiarity with his subject―firmly grounded in the tradition of nature morte―and a mastery of Renaissance perspective. Order and balance coexist effortlessly with randomness and natural forms. A looping, sinewy handle of a water pitcher is the perfect foil for the rigid, window-pane grid beyond. And, there are the innumerable dropped berries that simply won’t stay put.
These works are celebrations of the life James and his wife Elizabeth have built together with their daughter Anastasia; of their annual travels to Italy, and their special home in the New Hampshire hills. The various bric a brac in the foregrounds are favorite objects imbued with personal meaning; the tulips are fresh from the picking garden; the oysters from their weekend at Appledore. The orchid, a present from a recent house guest, sits over night in the artist’s study. James knows the farmer in Panicale who grows his vegetables. He’s collected the bright textiles on his many travels and has witnessed the distant views from kitchen windows.
Reflections of the artist are everywhere, not just in the silvery distortions of a sugar bowl. Know these paintings and you will know James Aponovich. They tell of a life well lived―the stuff of dreams and happiness.