» This Story:Read +| Comments

D.C.-area nightlife, events and dining

The story behind the work

Jeff Huntington depicts faces of his father, living with Alzheimer's

Three works capture various moods of Jeff Huntington's father, an Alzheimer's patient.
Three works capture various moods of Jeff Huntington's father, an Alzheimer's patient. (From Reyes And Davis)

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 18, 2010

Jeff Huntington's interest in Alzheimer's isn't idle curiosity. The artist's father, depicted in "Plaques and Tangles" -- a triptych from which the show takes its name -- has suffered from the disease for 10 years. The three-canvas work depicts the 67-year-old in moods that are, by turns, frustrated, goofy and contemplative.

This Story

Those three paintings began as an homage to his father. He was also an artist, and Huntington remembers accompanying him, as an 8-year-old boy, to art classes. It's there that Huntington first discovered his facility for portraiture, painting characters from "Star Wars."

When Huntington began "Plaques and Tangles," he didn't know where they would lead. Like all his work, they started out as black-and-white, or grisaille (from the French word for "gray") underpaintings. Color is only added as a final step.

After starting them, Huntington put the pictures of his father aside and began to work on images of children, most of whom are his father's grandchildren. It was then that Huntington noticed how multiple perspectives were also creeping into those works. Eventually, he returned to his father. The three pictures, he says, were "the first ones started and the last ones finished."

-- Michael O'Sullivan


» This Story:Read +| Comments
© 2010 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity