Andrew Stevovich: Imitating Life
Foreword by John D. Spooner
Published: Adelson Galleries, Inc. 2001
Softcover
14 pages
How Art Imitates Life, Which Imitates Art
I had a novel published in 1975. The name of the novel was Class, meant in the many ways one would interpret that word. But essentially it was a satiric novel, one that reflected Puck's line from A Midsummer Night's Dream,"what fools we mortals be." Class was my third novel and fourth book and I was determined to take some of my advance money and buy some work of art that might reflect what I knew to be the theme of my latest project. Wandering Boston's Newbury Street one lunch hour, I walked into a gallery showing the work of a young artist recently graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. I had always loved the work of Hogarth, Daumier, and Bosch, artists whose works reflected their jaundiced views of society. No one, in my opinion, at the time, painted or drew in a satirical way, reflecting our times, deeply understanding of human nature. Political cartoonists perhaps, but not painters. I walked into that Newbury Street gallery and felt I had to sit down. There were no chairs available, and I literally sat on the floor, not believing that anyone contemporary painted with humor, a wicked eye, and in oil; wonderful colors, characters that seemed to me waiting for insertion into a novel. There was one large canvas depicting a couple in formal clothes: black tie and long gown. Open on the man's languid, upper crust lap was a green jacketed book whose title read, The Social List. The painting could have been, (should have been), the jacket of my novel. I bought the painting, surprising my wife who loved it as well, and we have carried it from new house to new house, building rooms around it and loving it more as the years rolled on.

All of you in business know that anything that appears simple is only an illusion, simple only as viewed from the outside. There is no such thing as an easy business. Ask the twenty and thirty-somethings who thought the Internet was an instant source of riches.

Andrew Stevovich's paintings seem so simple; he seems to effortlessly produce his people with marvelous color and technical brilliance. But his creatures cook in his brain, and believe me, they're mostly thinking dark, dangerous, perverse thoughts. Because everyone has his dark side, which most of us keep in check because of the law and the moral rules of society. We fear to do the things we dream about. But look at Andrew Stevovich's characters, in casinos, at the track, in nightclubs, at the beach, in their beds. They're dreaming, scheming, plotting the next step, the next fantasy. And Andrew's dreams move on as well.

We bought a painting in the mid 80s that totally captured another book of mine: a sugar daddy, high roller in a crowded nightclub. He hands a green credit card to a cynical woman cashier who has seen everything. That's Stevovich's painting. My book's title Sex and Money. Andrew is keeping up with my vision of the world. Or I'm trying to keep up with his.

The last painting we bought showed four men seated at a blackjack table, reacting in various ways to the cards and a female dealer. Each of the men is lost in his own thoughts. My novel, just out at the same time, was called The Foursome.

If you have secrets of the soul, you will love Andrew Stevovich's paintings. If you appreciate the complexities of human nature, you need to have a Stevovich on the wall. Every day you own it, you will pause by it, contemplate and smile.

If art makes you think and smile then it has done its job. And so has the artist.

If you don't have a Stevovich in a special place in your life, then maybe your fantasies need rethinking.

John D. Spooner
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