Arnold Gatoff: Remembering as a Personal Mission

August 2009

Memory can be powerful.  Emotions play an important role on how we remember events, people, and life altering moments.  Arnold Gatoff has found that painting allows him to remember, grieve, find solace, give comfort, and essentially become a cathartic experience that transcends the moment.  He has had tragedy in his own life and met others who also know the heartbreak that comes with the loss of loved ones.  Rather than dwelling on the injury and hurt, Gatoff has created a series of images that borrow from religion, the visual and performing arts, history, and poetry.  These paintings are striking on several levels.  His colors counter the usual somber palette associated with those who title their work Holocaust, From Out of Ashes, and The Very Stones Wept.  Although stylized in geometric patterns, Gatoff’s work borrows from renaissance and modern painting movements while maintaining a uniqueness that is not easily categorized.  What may be most special about this work is that it does not “sow anger in our hearts,” but rather reminds us that From the Ashes, Faith, Vision, and Rebirth are possible.