The loss to the art world was incalculable. How do you define perfection? Marisa wasn’t sure although Vance’s art was to many, just that. It was intriguing, vibrant, edgy, unique and crossed boundaries that went far beyond paint, pigment and colour. Its appeal captured the hearts of staunch realists and didn’t stop there. Many known for their absolute devotion to abstract, modern and impressionism also lined up to enjoy and obtain Vance’s artwork. Nor was there an age barrier since young and old loved his work equally. He was truly gifted.
She’d watch him sweat over a painting, spend hours days weeks on it until it met with his personal approval. It wasn’t as simple as slapping paint on a canvas; she’d witnessed the sweat and toil that went into every brushstroke, every decision regarding hue texture and light. He truly poured his heart and soul into his work.
The local radio station was interested in airing a segment on Vance and she’d asked the detectives on his case whether it was a good idea, uncertain how much she should divulge. It was inevitable they’d ask about his disappearance if there were any new leads and where the investigation stood. However, the detectives on the case suggested even encouraged she use the opportunity to appeal to the public to ask anyone with any information no matter how insignificant it may seem, to come forward, anonymously if necessary and assist the investigation.
Vance had been returning home after a night out with friends and vanished without a trace. Footage from every CCTV camera in the city had been scanned, and his whereabouts could be accounted for during most of the evening. It just seemed inconceivable that he was there one minute and gone the next!
Since it was a high-profile case, the pressure was on as the police eagerly pursued every possible lead. They’d questioned the friends he’d been with that fateful evening and viewed footage fans had provided showing Vance and his friends enjoying the evening, laughing joking, having a good time. In many ways, perhaps that was the problem, he was too open, too available. No one remembered anything weird or unusual having taken place and nothing untoward had been witnessed on any of the videos provided.
That led the police down a dark path. Could one of his fans have taken advantage of that openness and lured him into an unsavoury situation? Unfortunately, it was a fact of life that crazed fans crossed the line from interest to obsession and that obsession could lead to horrific consequences.
Maris couldn’t fault their diligence. They’d spent hours combing through gallery files listing buyers and zeroing in on those on the list that obtained more than one painting, asking if any had shown undue impatience or anger at having to wait or if any were unhappy after obtaining a painting. The questions were endless, but Marisa had doggedly answered them all.
Vance’s family asked her to stay on and oversee the sale of his paintings since the interest in obtaining one of the possibly last Vance Gibson paintings made them even more valuable. That seemed obscene to Marisa. His paintings were exquisite but that some were using them in this manner disgusted and horrified her. As a result, she’d agreed to continue at the gallery ensuring that his work was protected.
The family went so far as to provide extra security since they were worried not only about his paintings and the gallery, but about her safety as well. If Vance could vanish, then anything was possible.