AMERICAN ALLIGATORS IN MID-AIR

 

Paintings and drawings by STEVE GALLOWAY, Los Angeles

“I travel through time,” says a seven year old, “Which time? Ancient, a far past?”
asks the adult. “I come from yesterday night.”

A conversation reported by artist Giuliano Nannipieri, from Livorno (Italy)

STEVE GALLOWAY, Suppose 2011  14″ x 11″ Oil on canvas
Courtesy of the artist and Rose Gallery

STEVE GALLOWAY, Terrestrial Patterns 2007 15″x 11″ Charcoal and pastel on paper
Courtesy of the artist and Rose Gallery

MEMORY BEHIND THE EYES

by Rosanna Albertini

John Cage wrote that the means of thinking are exterior to the mind, and we might leave the mind ready to welcome divine influences. It is so hard to do. Maybe the handstand on the back of heron, giving our feet to the sky, would help if we could accept being displaced in an unfamiliar landscape. Steve Galloway places the heron on an alligator and the alligator in mid-air. This pathetic description, that says nothing about the art, only sends the art to hell.

You can only count on your eyes and look through charcoal and pastel until the imaginary land the artist found behind his eyes starts filling the paper. Along with him, we believe he saw it, he discovered it, he felt the power of images somehow as people did when they did not have books in their hands, and written language. “Tout faire parler,” let everything talk, representing the “large uniform flatland of words and things.” (Michel Foucault)

STEVE GALLOWAY, Floating 2008 52″ x 72″ Charcoal and pastel on paper
Courtesy of the artist and Rose Gallery

STEVE GALLOWAY, Moonflight 2015 20″ x 25″  Charcoal and pastel on paper
Courtesy of the artist and Rose gallery

Words, animals, and trees as figures of the world, limbs of the same body: neither too big nor too little, as they must be deep in a dream: feelings wearing the heaviness of matter: they are so dense and persistent that maybe only the alligator’s skin reveals their bumpy, obstinate proliferation. Now, as well as in the night of times, we know there is an infinite mystery we were born in. It doesn’t matter if computers try to visualize the back holes as if they were organs of the universe. How can we believe in what scientists say today, which is different from what they told yesterday night? At least in my countryside Italian legends we found and believed newborn babies were picked up from underneath a cabbage leaf. God’s eye, only one, inscribed in a triangle, was piercing the clouds to look at us, even listening to our thoughts. I don’t know about dreams. I suspect they were secret. He was not a god we children could love, his son was much closer to us, with his bloody cut in the chest and nails through his hands and feet. Children feared the father, not the son.

Sorry, I traveled back through time. It is what Steve Galloway’s images do to me: they bring my mind to a time before the order of grammars, to the time when I believed dreams were not distant from the frozen trees I was watching through the ice crystals on the window. Seeing was believing, although most of the images were made up. Nature couldn’t be copied. Books were the end of my era of belief.

STEVE GALLOWAY, Hibbies ol’ Place 20″ x 25″  Charcoal and pastel on paper
Courtesy of the artist and Rose Gallery

We live today in an age of disbelief. Let’s read Wallace Stevens:
“It is for the poet [and the visual artist] to supply the satisfaction of belief, in his measure and in his style….
To see the gods dispelled in mid-air and dissolve like clouds is one of the great human experiences. It is not as if they had gone over the horizon to disappear for a time; … it is simply that they came to nothing. Since we have always shared all things with them and have always had a part of their strength and, certainly, all of their knowledge, we shared likewise this experience of annihilation. It was their annihilation, not ours, and yet it left us feeling disposed and alone in a solitude, like children without parents, in a home that seemed deserted, in which the amical rooms and halls have taken on a look of hardness and emptiness. What was most extraordinary is that they left no momentous behind, no thrones, no mystic rings, no texts either of the soil or of the souls. It was if they had never inhabited the earth.”
WALLACE STEVENS, Two or three ideas.

STEVE GALLOWAY, Handstand 2011 50.8 x 63.5 cm Charcoal and pastel on paper    Courtesy of the artist

We had the Greek gods in mid-air, we had utopias, and later on in a similar vein Marx, Gramsci, Lenin and Che Guevara; now we have American alligators. They give us back impenetrable truths, and yet become our nautilus, the vehicle towards Galloway’s landscapes filled with irony and gentleness. It’s enough we “suppose” things that he doesn’t dare to entrust to words. We shouldn’t either. His image are not objects, they are “expressions of delight.”

STEVE GALLOWAY, Coyote Sky 2017, 30″ x 24″ oil on canvas
Courtesy of the artist and Rose Gallery

Bibliography

Wallace Stevens, “Two or three ideas”, in Opus Posthumous, edited by Milton J, Bates, Vintage Books, New York, 1990

John Cage, composition in retrospect, Exact Change Cambridge, 1993

Michel Foucault, Les mots et les choses, Une archeologie des sciences humaines, Gallimard, paris, 1966

 

SMART DEAR PLATITUDES

by Rosanna Albertini

About THREE FUNERALS AND SOME ACTS OF PRESERVATIONS

a film by JUDY FISKIN, 2016

It’s a film because images move, but after months of simmering this art piece in my mind, now I see it as visual music, very much as John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes: simple as dripping water, unassuming textures of reverence for a life we cover as a mysterious distance.

Three Funerals and Some Acts of Preservation 2016_fade up

 

How not to be elusive about death? How to be personal and elusive, personal and intuitive, wearing a dress of courtesy, some hints of humor. Judy’s film is a visual score. Lines of people moving horizontally and of cars rolling on the freeway. Notes are replaced by stories in a natural flow from which rough edges are smoothed out.
One funeral at the beginning, two funerals in the end, and stories of physical care in the middle: the statues’ maintenance.

That’s Fiskin’s quite unique art: to keep courtesy in the face of death. To clean the artwork of most intellectual rules, making art like a veil lifted from life, tied around her face often laughing at modernist obsessions, maybe at any kind of mental constructions. How long do they last? Is there knowing or believing?

Time is the body of films and music. Images and sounds are surfers in a pond of time, they exist as a savor, a perfume. We can only “integrate that savor into the fabric of our own identity.” George Steiner*

Once we have arrived to a certain life degree, by experiencing and understanding other humans, every relationship, even with our wisest or lovely friends, is only valuable in the atmosphere soaking them completely; and conversations, profound as they can be, have lost the power to give us intellectual happiness; they rather work in us like musical melodies.” Arthur Schnitzler**

 

Three Funerals and Some Acts of Preservation 2016_fade up-1

Three Funerals and Some Acts of Preservation 2016_fade up-5
Three Funerals and Some Acts of Preservation 2016_fade up-4

 

In the film, the sculptures by Isamu Noguchi, Henry Moore, Arturo Martini and others artists of the modern era (only with the exception of Charlie Ray), scattered in the gardens of the Getty Center, are washed and dried as if the Getty Museum conservators’ hands engaged in a caress because they must. There is no love, just periodic maintenance. The sculptures are rigid and heavy forms from day one, corpses. Don’t be mistaken. Judy Fiskin presents them as a trickster would: shiny, perfect, wonderful images that vanish through time. Death is the cord that ties them all, one more string of the music. I remember Homer: shoulders and muscles described as the pride of the living hero, seen at once like future shadows, lifeless, as if Achilles and the other warriors were already dead. This was then, in the ancient times, but now? Art history is a strange museum by itself, calling for veneration, offering exceptional and surprising specimens… do we really care?

 

Three Funerals and Some Acts of Preservation 2016_fade up-2

 

In the countryside house where I was born there was a bronze, the head of Jesus sculpted by a local artist, maybe Celeste was his name but I’m not sure. Jesus was sad. When grandfather died, I was seven, the family put a pillow embroidered by me under his head and the bronze on his grave. It is still my favorite sculpture. Facing death, Jesus was hiding his deep feelings, had a quiet expression. I can still see that face as I think, my eyes open. Grandfather used to say that life is so marvelous, something must continue after the threshold is passed. It was faith in a non religious artist.

Judy Fiskin lights a dim lamp at her window. People and words and images are a simple parade of acts and speeches we modulate without thinking in our daily journey. Common senses, platitudes. I’m not the first naming the aesthetic of courtesy, George Steiner is the master, but as far as I know very few artists of our time place this secret, inner feeling at the core of their work as Judy does. I love it because it’s not only about her, it unravels with grace the way she addresses the viewers, all of us. We are in her she can be in us. Platitude is not flatness, it is life as it is, true and fake, modest and grandiose, a little scary, mostly impossible to fish by words. Not without values.
Civility, courtesy and kindness in these days more reliable than truth.

JUDY FISKIN,Three Funerals and Some Acts of Preservation, Film, 2016 (excerpt)

*George Steiner, Real Presences, The University of Chicago Press, 1989
** Arthur Schnitzler, Relations et Solitudes, Aphorisms (Original title: Beziehungen und Einsamkeiten, 1967) Editions Rivages, translation from German by Pierre Deshusses, Paris,1988. Translation from French of this quote by R.A.

KATE NEWBY – SILENT BRICKS

A FICTIONAL LEGEND

by Rosanna Albertini

“There is a big difference between using a rock and making a rock.” (Kate Newby) 

Let’s imagine things and people never were, so we could

breath such emptiness in and out

and feel murmurs of silence

subject and names are gone

a field remains of impersonal vibrations

the simple fact of an existing energy field

as impersonal as ‘it rains’ ‘it’s cold’ ‘it’s foggy’

names can’t tell about it, verbs maybe can

no offense to time and space they don’t count

compared with human energy

incurable daughter of fate

no one nothing will change her

what kind of art now?

(Emmanuel Levinas, Le temps et l’autre, 1979. Translation from French RA)

One of the many answers could be:  Kate Newby’s Two aspirins a vitamin c tablet and some baking soda – 2015  In Los Angeles, at Laurel Doody.

KATE NEWBY,

KATE NEWBY, “Two aspirins a vitamin C tablet and some baking soda”, 2015, detail.
Courtesy of the artist and of Laurel Doody. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Let’s imagine a beginning without time, the artist looking for a space to visit, landing on its flatness like an alien presence bringing presents in a quiet and friendly manner, so quiet that visitors, or recipients, if they exist, could easily ignore them. John Cage’s prepared piano’s distinct notes would trace the spirit of this presence better than words: liquid sounds, ponds of feelings for a landscape that only exists if some body’s expectations go astray, heading towards a field of sensations that float and fly, light feet on the floor.

I can hear you

making small holes

in the silence

rain

(Hone Tuwhare, Rain, in Deep River Talk, 1993)

In that landscape Kate’s art makes sense if we forget all the strings we attach to the word ‘meaning.’ An impersonal field of energy offers tactile surprises to the eyes: a small island of wax on a wooden skin, coins melted in clay, a couple of glass stones at the edge of the window sill, as if they were two feet waiting to fly rather than jump. And even more surprising, four irregular metal cilinders with a point that worked holes and lines and angles in the clay, helping the artist’s fingers. Her magic fingers, not merely tools. Strangely, they make me think of Mahuika in the Maori mythology, the image of the goddess grandmother who hides fire in her body, and gives it to the living humans pulling out her fingernails one by one, her fingers bursting into flame. Although Kate Newby is from New Zealand, this is only a fantasy of mine.

She carved small and big holes in each brick, made the bricks one by one preparing them for the kiln, pierced the silence of the matter introducing scratches, cavities, scars produced by pieces of metal or glass. Wounds of the same kind, in a place run by history, would be normal accidents happening over time. As I told before, time is gone. This is reverse archeology: a fictional legend.

KATE NEWBY,

KATE NEWBY, “Two aspirins a vitamin C tablet and some baking soda”, 2015, detail. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

KATE NEWBY,

KATE NEWBY, “Two aspirins a vitamin C tablet and some baking soda”, 2015, detail. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

KATE NEWBY,

KATE NEWBY, “Two aspirins a vitamin C tablet and some baking soda, 2015, detail. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

KATE NEWBY,

KATE NEWBY, “Two aspirins a vitamin C tablet and some baking soda”, 2015, detail. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

KATE NEWBY,

KATE NEWBY, “Two aspirins a vitamin C tablet and some baking soda”, 2015, detail. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Kate Newby,

KATE NEWBY, “Two aspirins a vitamin C tablet and some baking soda”, 2015, detail. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

It’s a cluster of unnamed,  brand new objects: never used, human hands made them all, they might not be useful or noticeable. The artist brought them into a friendly room, aware of their novelty which is first of all a lack of experience: who ever looked at them? In their primordial, perhaps pre-historical surface they wear without knowing, why are they sprinkled with something white looking like bird shit (what’s a bird?), or with colored pebbles and small shells (where do colors come from?), can they stand to be under scrutiny? Scrutiny is an architecture of thoughts as cold as a laser beam. The whole energy field could be destroyed.

A window, a thick expansion of green outside, emptiness in a room. I don’t know if Kate Newby still feels like a pile of leaves, this time she has aspirin, a tablet of vitamin c and baking soda in her mind’s pocket. Is she able to shut down her self and bring up only her (and our) alterations? Being impersonal like rain and dry like the destiny?

When she looks from afar at the scattered sculptures released by her hands,  she sees them together in her mind as they cannot be seen in the physical space where they are installed. Suspended from a branch outside the window, the musical fingers can perhaps visually connect to the glass feet, not to the bricks inside the room. They are dispersed family members, that only a mental vision would bring together. Distance and displacement don’t reduce her attachment. The conversation she had in mind in the making of the art has been slowly decanted into the objects’ physical quality, so as not to disturb the sediment, that is different for each material. A physical conversation between wind, leaves and silver fingers, and between the sky and the glass blocks, takes place outdoors; while the iron, that makes the clay red inside the room, reverberates the iron in her blood and viceversa: human and inhuman temperament of the metal share the same nature. A wish of infinity, in the blue pebbles?  The raw matter that is in her is also in the body of her art: an “incredible feeling” arouses her vision. She will never say it in words, nor should I. It’s a feeling of certainty, though, joined to the pleasure of giving.

KATE NEWBY,

KATE NEWBY, “Two aspirins a vitamin C tablet and some baking soda”, 2015
Courtesy of the artist and of Laurel Doody. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

EACH DAY ONE VOICE

each day one voice  —  Rosanna Albertini

About KEATON MACON and his installation at Laurel Doody, Los Angeles

Nonintention (the acceptance of silence) leading to nature; renunciation of control; let sounds to be sounds. Fluent, pregnant, related, obscure (nature of sound)

JOHN CAGE — Composition in Retrospect, 1982

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery  2013-2015, Custom furniture, tape player, 366 cassette tapes

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery 2013-2015, Custom furniture, tape player, 366 cassette tapes  Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery, detail

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery, detail

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery, detail

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery, detail





KEATON MACON, Data Recovery, back of the room

KEATON MACON, Data Recovery, back of the room

The day I was born, December 28, even the time of my birth, with the winter light getting dim at four in the afternoon, are visible in a painting my grandfather Oreste made outdoors in the field, while waiting for me. But I miss the voice of that day: the dry grass crackling under the soles? the rumbling stove in the kitchen? For all its importance, the event shrunk in one word, ‘birth,’ cleans that day from the physical echoes of people walking up and down the stairs, shutting doors, running water, and the concert of words around their mouths. Of course I was there, but I don’t remember them.

Keaton Macon reminded me of the fluent, pregnant, related, obscure nature of sounds with an art piece in which the sound, one continuous hour of sound from each day of the year in the artist’s life, is a ghost vessel kept at bay in tapes. Days lurk in a white box, as vertical as books, holding the name of the day on their back: NOV 30, DEC 06, JAN 14. The year isn’t written, the date is incomplete. One of the many loose ends of this piece that make it magic. The obsessive, archival cleanness of its presentation corresponds to the artificial, manufactured life of the calendar. The natural life of a living day flows out of it asking for acceptance.

Open the box, put the tape in the small recorder, and the fluid mass of John Cage’s silence erupts in the room, the calendar blows up. If a tape gets lost or is stolen, Keaton will wait for the same day of the following year to record an hour of sound. HORIZONTAL THINKING. The same days in different years seem to share more than a name: they have a place in a natural order that is not under human control. Loose end again.

What’s important, really, what does become a date? The artist wondered at the beginning of the project if places where historical dramas happened, like the Bob Kennedy’s assassination at the Ambassador Hotel, or a robbery with hostages in a bank, might be particularly significant. What prevailed is his attachment to the daily marvel, unique and impossible to repeat. The best way to be in touch with the piece is to sit on the floor. To slow down and wonder if any peak of ‘importance’ is ever necessary. Every part of the installation, shelves and drawings on the walls under a diffused light from the ceiling, start floating among the recorded sounds and the rain hitting the window. Humans, images and sounds, physical bodies sharing a space.

Except the drawings are rebellious, and give a visual form to the daily sounds as they unfold, what the artist sees through his fingertips moving the pencil on paper. Tim Hawkinson, about two decades ago, sculpted his favorite musics in large aluminum foil records, letting his fingers react to the sounds. In Macon’s drawings, one for each day, the tape becomes a ribbon, happy to unfold not having anything to fasten, mixing the recorded mood with the artist’s state of mind  unfolding in his chest at that very moment. A loose end in his heart.     

KEATON MACON, March 6, detail

KEATON MACON, March 6, detail   Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

KEATON MACON, March 6, detail

KEATON MACON, March 6, detail Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

KEATON MACON, March 06, 2015 Charcoal and graphite on paper, framing device

KEATON MACON, March 6, 2015 Charcoal and graphite on paper, framing device Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

KEATON MACON, March 6, 2015, Charcoal and graphite on paper, framing device

KEATON MACON, March 6, 2015, Charcoal and graphite on paper, framing device Photo: Fredrick Nilsen

WHAT’S A REAL STORY WHEN PAINTED N.4

137acUMAN

And the Human Language of Colors

UMAN, Mom of the year for small bird's, 2015, oil on wood, 3

UMAN, Mom of the year for small bird’s, 2015, oil on wood, 3″x 3″
Courtesy of the artist       Photo: Peter Kirby

         Artist statement

I paint. Often I get nostalgic about growing up. These memories express themselves mostly in the colors. They mix with the colors, movements and forms that surround me – seasonal changes in the foliage of upstate New York. Watching the birds migrating makes me wanting to be in that moment with them.

MY WORK IS NOT AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL, NOR POLITICAL OR NARRATIVE. IT’S AN AUTOMATIC EXPRESSION

(137ac is a collective studio space. A place to share my work with other artists who share similar values and attitudes about painting. We come in and funnel ideas, frustration, hope and love into our work.)

Uman was born in East Africa and currently lives in New York.

BIANCA SFORNI, Portrait of Uman, 2015

BIANCA SFORNI, Portrait of Uman, 2015

“I started to draw at a young age onto everything I could find. I was full of imagination.

I enjoyed our family vacations all across East Africa, from Turkana to Nairobi to Mandera, a desert where my Grandmother lived.

 I have fond memories of crossing the border with my parents into Tanzania.

LETTER TO UMAN

Los Angeles, May 1st 2015

Birds drop on your canvas the visual pattern of a melody. Each of them sings a different song, or a speech? Some of them thrive, others seem to shrink as if the end of their song had emptied their body. I don’t know why I see a breathing movement, maybe I’m bedeviled by questions I had as a country child listening to the birds and wishing to understand the language hidden in their throats. Perhaps I was at times mistaking birds for leaves, does it matter?

UMAN, Birds N.1, 2015, oil on Wood, 74

UMAN, Birds N.1, 2015, Oil on primed fabric, 74″ x 62″
Courtesy of the artist

UMAN, Birds N.1, Detail

UMAN, Birds N.1, Detail

These paintings make me think of a scattered mosaic, a collection of particles that you have liberated from being stiff and geometrical. It’s an organic transformation that I see, light and movable, and moving. I can feel the birds flight, their voices. The space is a mid-space between sky and earth, as if your brush could breath the colors and make them weightless.

UMAN, Scattered wild Universe, 2015, Oil on canvas Courtesy of the artist

UMAN, Scattered Wild Universe, 2015, Oil on canvas, 30″ x 24″
Courtesy of the artist

UMAN, Malaria Fever, 2014, Oil on fabric, 40

UMAN, Malaria Fever, 2014, Oil on fabric, 40″ x 30″     Photo: Bianca Sforni
Courtesy of the artist

Really, the visual language you paint isn’t different from the birds’ songs: not the ‘natural’ inhuman scenery, rather the ‘natural’ personal cacophony of colors and forms that makes us part of the universe and the universe part of us. Rectangle triangles or drops of ovals have something of a skin, a softness that makes them vulnerable. I’m trying to read them separately from my memories and thoughts even if it’s clear that I might reach them only if I put my sensitivity at stake, being absolutely sure that it’s different from yours.

A painting? An odd combination of chance and freedom, space and time with the artist as an instrument of circumstances. I give you some John Cage:

acrostic

He concludes that a note is “between points in a field of frequency or just a drawing in space … absence of theory…” Only NOTATION.

UMAN, Life should be this way, 2013, Goache, oil on board Courtesy of the artist

UMAN, Life should be this way, 2013, Gouache, oil on board, 47″ x 37″
Courtesy of the artist

UMAN, Dark Woods, 2012, Oil on primed paper, 12

UMAN, Dark Woods, 2012, Oil on primed paper, 12″ x 9″ Photo: Bianca Sforni
Courtesy of the artist

Imagination is the only parking place. Your paintings or drawings with one dominant image are harder to read. Ghosts from reality and art history enslave my mind, maybe yours too? I find myself in front of the Dark Woods,   today watching a dragonlike image hissing at a cloud of darkness, tomorrow I might see something else. But looking at the tree embracing the dove with human hands I do know it’s a dream of tenderness, please don’t go, migration is hard. You are a bird from Africa as I am from Italy. Your painting has absorbed my words.

I’m not sure, this piece by William Carlos Williams could speak for both:

“I go back to people. They are the origin of every bit of life that can possibly inhabit any structure, house, poem or novel [or painting] of conceivable human interest. It doesn’t precisely come out of the tops of their heads like flowers but they represent, in themselves, the structure which art . . . Put it this way: If we don’t cling to the warmth which breathes into a house or a poem [or a painting] alike from human need — (The stink, you mean) — the whole matter has nothing to hold it together and becomes structurally weak so that it falls to pieces.”

It can be an elegant dancer resting on a couch, or a brown spot on a red square, the human language of colors.

Yours,

Rosanna

UMAN, Luly in orange scarf,  2014, Oil on canvas Courtesy of the artist

UMAN, Luly in orange scarf, 2014, Oil on canvas, 8″ x 6″
Courtesy of the artist

Gallery

IMPORTANCE OF BEING PERPLEXED

PAINTER STEVE GALLOWAY, a SON OF THE DESERT

by Rosanna Albertini

Object is fact not symbol (no ideas). It is, is cause for joy (John Cage)

But words are not shadows. Words are objects. (Viktor Shklovsky)

 Let me tell you a story. There is a ditch between the pleasure we receive from an artwork and truly seeing what the artist did. With Steve Galloway’s pictures, I could be stuck in the ditch forever were I asking help from books. One of the smartest tells me that “we don’t know how art began any more than we know how language started.” (E. H. Gombrich) Therefore, I must thank yesterday’s sunset: it was a scattered movement of light fighting the grayness through the clouds. As the light grew dim, electric ovals, intertwined, drew in the sky one of the most classical and mysterious secrets of painting: how the painting itself generates light. The sky became an immense painting over the city of angels which is desert and money and romanticism and politics, but the desert comes first.

STEVE GALLOWAY, About 20 Feet  2014  Pastel on paper 25" x 20" Courtesy of the artist

Steve Galloway,  ABOUT 20 FEET  2014,  Pastel on paper,  25″ x 20″
Courtesy of the artist

STEVE GALLOWAY Consumed   2014  Oil on linen  20" x 16" Courtesy of the artist

Steve Galloway,  CONSUMED  2014,  Oil on linen,  20″ x 16″
Courtesy of the artist

As an artist, Galloway is a son of the desert. A master in the land of nothingness, where our individual nature is the least part of ourselves. He questions the space, the sunlight, artificial lights, transient colors, bushes, rocks, animals, insects and paints them as estranged presences; history will never box them in. Galloway’s house, the mouse, the spider or the red bed underwater bring up the triumph of a detached isolation. “Look at me, I’m a different bed, you don’t know me. Only Steve can touch me, not even him, his brush, or his pencil does, I’m powerful. I’m a light plant.” The red bed has become the quintessence of an heroic solitude, a king hiding the crown. A medusa bed? When the aquatic Polyphemus bites the red cover, then really the bed’s power flows over the sand surface and goes far, far away. That’s the art: a common object mutates into a magical presence and we can feel it’s power.

Yet, before the sunset I hadn’t seen that each scene built in Galloway’s mind doesn’t include shadows. The opposite happens: the painted image diffuses the light it contains, may we call it life? Images mark their presence on the ground in spite of realism or physical limitations. They play with words, but don’t reveal the story. Bushes devouring a little house, a big frog hoping to eat the dragonfly. Our eyes eating the image in one blink. Although constantly threatened, this imaginary universe is meant to expand as a message of freedom. Is the mouse dreaming to be Cootie Williams while he blows the trumpet? Is the TOOT the center of desire that generates light around the little animal on the straw? Whatever the environment, the circumstances, it is, is cause for joy.

STEVE GALLOWAY, MAYFLY 2009, Charcoal and pastel on paper, 28" x 20" Courtesy of the artist

Steve Galloway, MAYFLY 2009, Charcoal and pastel on paper, 28″ x 20″
Courtesy of the artist

Steve Galloway, TOOT, 2013 Pastel et fusain sur papier, 38 x 28 cm. Courtesy of the artist

Steve Galloway, TOOT 2013,  Pastel et fusain sur papier, 38 x 28 cm.
Courtesy of the artist

I believe that I like to see what is seen.

Ah yes of course.

I believe that I like to see what bothers me.

Oh yes of course.

I believe that I like to be what is not human nature to be because human nature is not interesting. …

But anything flying around is.

Oh certainly.

Therefore there is the universe.

Because it is flying around.

It is interesting.

Romance and the human mind are interesting and are they flying well they are not. (Gertrude Stein)

PAINTED CIRCUMSTANCES

JOSHUA ASTER’S WORDS AND PAINTINGS from Inglewood,  (Introduced by John Cage)

or you Could say  /  study beIng  /  inteRrupted   / take telephone Calls  / as Unexpected pleasures  /  free the Mind  /  from itS desire   /   To  /   concentrAte  /    remaiNing open  /    to what you Can’t  /   prEdict  /  “i welcome whatever happenS next”

JOSHUA ASTER, blinkingmasks 2014 oil on canvas over panel, 14.75" x 11.75" Courtesy of the artist

JOSHUA ASTER, blinkingmasks 2014
oil on canvas over panel, 14.75″ x 11.75″
Courtesy of the artist

forRosannawordsweb

JOSHUA ASTER, time between 2014  oil on canvas over panel, 14.75" x 11.75" Courtesy of the artist

JOSHUA ASTER, timebetween 2014
oil on canvas over panel, 14.75″ x 11.75″
Courtesy of the artist

JOSHUA ASTER, compassoints 2014 oil on canvas over tablet, 14.75" x 11.75" Courtesy of the artist

JOSHUA ASTER, compasspoints 2014
oil on canvas over tablet, 14.75″ x 11.75″
Courtesy of the artist

JOSHUA ASTER, sunblot 2014 oil on canvas over tablet, 14.75" x 11.75" Courtesy of the artist

JOSHUA ASTER, sunblot 2014
oil on canvas over tablet, 14.75″ x 11.75″
Courtesy of the artist