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Joseph De Martini

The Ravine

De Martini was born in Mobile, Alabama, but spent most of his childhood in Hoboken, New Jersey. His family struggled to make ends meet for most of his life, prompting him to leave school at the age of fourteen to help support them. He worked various odd jobs until a family friend noticed his talent for drawing and helped him obtain an apprenticeship in a lithography plant. For the next few years, the young artist worked full time during the day and attended classes at the National Academy of Design at night. Despite his tenacity and obvious talent, De Martini struggled for the next fifteen years, finding employment as a house painter and fishmonger, until he finally received his first solo show.

Dark, mysterious forms loom over the viewer in The Ravine, a confrontational and richly textured painting. The diminutive moon accentuates the mass of rocky crags, perhaps directing the eye to the depth of space in an otherwise flattened abstraction. A treetop hints at the scale, but the reading of a natural space is difficult and obscured by the shadowy treatment of the nighttime colors.

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