The great visionary artist Paul Laffoley died on Monday, November 16, after a long battle with congestive heart failure.
Laffoley grew up within the confines of a strict Irish Catholic family in Boston, Massachusetts. Educated in progressive schools throughout his childhood, he graduated in Classics from Brown University with honours, but was later dismissed from Harvard Graduate Design School because of his unconventional ideas. Laffoley trained as an architect, but later worked at the membership office of the Boston Museum of Science.
From the 1960s, Laffoley rented an 18 x 30 ft / 5 x 9 m utility room that he christened the âBoston Visionary Cell.â Here, he created over 800 works, displaying his philosophical and scientific ideas, executed in the form of architectural and scientific drawings. A collector of some 7,000 books, Laffoley absorbed information at an unusual rate. He employed this knowledge in his paintings, combining it with his own ideas and conventions to produce complex diagrammatic pictures. His theoretical constructs were uniquely presented in highly detailed mandala-like canvases largely scaled to Fibonacciâs golden ratio. He used different types of paints; oils, acrylics and also simple coloured pens to produce his complex works, relying on an emotional and creative state which he calls âLucid Dreamingâ. Devoting his life to ideas, Laffoley would work for twelve hours a day, for weeks on end. Though he had major retrospectives recently, he produced his work outside art centres and outside of their strictures and camps.
Photo courtesy Dilettante Press and Elyse Harary.