In Back to Black, artist Joseph Lofranco revisits the basics of art-making, refreshing and rethinking his views on merging the schools of realism and abstraction. Lofranco insists that “the aesthetic of it is still abstract,” when he uses colors as jump-off points to create images, as he has done in selected exhibitions over the years.He explains, “This time, it’s very different [from my previous exhibits] in terms of the process and technique of working with the images, but similar in the sense that the final work remains abstract in concept. I have not done this in a long time. Perfecting an image takes time, and finishing it off with a mark (or a doodle to give it an entirely new look) is an even harder thing to do. But it must be done to complete the concept.”Painting in black and white, Lofranco appears to be heading into the photorealistic realm, but sticks to the semi-abstract mode by using marks, as if erasing parts of the original image. He compares the bold move to expressing one’s discontent over the initial depiction of the image or changing one’s mind in the process. With the marks, the images thus evolve into a new phase, voiding or destroying the representative idea and adding an abstract spin into the final outcome.For Lofranco, going back to the basics of creating an image, after more than a decade of abstract painting, is not as easy as it looks. So why did he decide to do it again? His main goal, he says, is to enjoy the materials and the process of art-making in every exhibit. “It is what triggers my emotions, and it is part of the whole concept to break out of my routine process and be in a more controlled one.”He hopes to continue experimenting with the process and develop bigger works in the future.