Cherry blossoms filled the air, swept by the May wind, and a friend said, "Oh, I thought it was snowing." That, Darragh Park said, was the effect he tried to get across in his paintings. He wanted to convey the pink cascade before it gained definition as blossoms or snowflakes -- and to convey the friend's face at the same time.
Darragh, who died Friday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said he had "a vision of vision." As a motorcyclist he learned on entering a curve that he had to focus "beyond my immediate destination if I was to operate the machine smoothly and stay alive." He had to be able to divide his sight between two points and let "the rest of [his] vision" take in everything between them. The beauty of his paintings is a beauty achieved by the supremacy of vision. How cruel that of all ailments, he had to suffer the progressive deterioration of his eyesight.
Darragh did the cover of "An Alternative to Speech," my first book of poems: a wraparound black-and-white cityscape in the rain: the traffic, human and vehicular, on the corner of 25th Street and Ninth Avenue. Darragh was devoted to James Schuyler and did the covers for Schuyler's "Collected Poems" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) and for "The Diary of James Schuyler" ed. by Nathan Kernan (Black Sparrow): both are portraits of the poet. Darragh must have done covers for other books, and I would be grateful for details from anyone who has them.