Pink and Pallor, Bernard Gilardi
For the first time last night a lecture became a source of comfort on a Friday evening gone horribly wrong. As I headed back to my dorm room after many failed attempts to reach social competency, it dawned on me: I don't have to go out on Fridays. For 50 some years, Bernard Gilardi probably didn't go out very much at all, and the result was a basement of visionary paintings filled with references to counter culture, religion, and, oddly enough, Wisconsin. I don't think my Friday evenings, should I choose to spend them in pajamas rather than high heels, would ever prove to be as fruitful as Gilardi's, however, there is a comfort in knowing that a fantasy world, one created inside of your head, can be much more enticing than the world a couple of residence halls over, where the booze and loud music create a false sense of excitement into the late hours of the night.
By looking at Gilardi's work, I can easily tell that he was not tempted by the pull of cheap entertainment and frivolous interactions with people. In his head, people were strange beings, and he paints them thus in his plethora of assorted portraits. Maybe this is why he spent so much time in his basement: because he saw humanity as too strange to interact with. In his isolation he was able to discover more truths about humans than he could through interacting with them. His paintings, though often whimsical, offer fresh new takes on subjects that have been beaten to a pulp. The birth of Jesus, to Gilardi, could have taken place in Wisconsin, and Mary could have been wearing red heels at the time. His wittiness and secret messages in his paintings, such as the cleverly placed "WisconsIN RIbbon Company" above a burning cross, show that he was very insightful, and probably would have brought joy to many people had he chosen to interact with them more often. Instead, he left behind his paintings, and in this way he will offer insight to those who are lucky enough to see them. For this we can be thankful that Gilardi chose the basement over the real world. Maybe if more people chose to analyze life from their basements, they could save themselves from the strangeness of humanity that Gilardi so accurately portrays.