Gianna Volpe

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 3, 2002

Ancestral Fields I
(work destroyed)
Ancestral Fields
Oil and wax on canvas
19 x 30 inches

"Ancestral Fields" is the result of a metamorphosis. It bears witness to my first truly courageous act as an artist: the act of destruction b(e)aring creation. This intense growth experience occurred as a direct result of a mentoring relationship I had with the late artist Warren Rohrer, who died of cancer in 1995.

"Ancestral Fields I" was an attempt to capture a memory from a childhood landscape. Though it accomplished that aim, I sensed there was something more to be discovered in it. A full year later, I began to destroy the painting I had worked so hard to create. I scraped and sanded and gouged and tore until a completely new piece emerged, replete with the history of my hands. It was a cathartic moment for me and a significant turning point in my development as an artist. None of this could have happened without Warren Rohrer. He not only was a remarkably vital man, despite fighting his cancer for over a decade, but possessed an integrity with which he lived his life and created his work that was the purest I have ever known.

This piece emerged as a humble homage to Warren's art and his fields.


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