“The ancient Japanese found divinity manifested within nature itself. Flowering peaks, flowing rivers, and venerable trees, for example, were thought to be sanctified by the deities, or kami, that inhabited them. This indigenous “Way of the Gods,” or Shinto, can be understood as a multifaceted assembly of practices, attitudes, and institutions that express the Japanese people’s relationship with their land and the lifecycle of the earth and human.” -Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art October 2002”
nathaniel galka's work is first and foremost a love for history. His art derives its sensibility from the diverse cultural aesthetics of many different centuries. his works are immersed with a multitude of art references that have stimulated and inspired him. his references are most recently focused on gathering knowledge of the Buddhist arts from the 13th through the 17th century. Nathaniel’s appreciation of Asian art primarily exists in the silk painting and woodblock prints from Korea and China. Along with introspective minimalist works of Buddhist art, he also finds historical Shinto sum floral paintings of 17th century Japan and with its cultural aesthetic of ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) to be impactful. With western European influences, undoubtedly it is the 17th century "vanitas" or still life paintings of the Netherlands, along with French/Russian aristocratic “Chinoiserie”decorative arts that show an idealized interpretation of eastern culture. The chinoiserie style is in complete contrast with its robust and sensual frivolity to the more restrained Asian essence. Nathaniel’s most emotional connection to a particular time in art is a century later with the Romantics of the 19thcentury. The period known as Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature. It was partly a reaction to the industrial revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and the scientific revelation of nature—all components of modernity. As far as current history, he speaks to the language of abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock and Helen Frankenthaler. With an accumulation of styles that honor history in his paintings, one will find it is where he has found his universal language. He shows through his works that one of the ways we speak as a culture is within the aesthetic of beauty and beautiful things. Beauty as it is, speaks to a greater consciousness. art when beautiful, sustains time and allows its viewers less resistance to see what an artist like Nathaniel is trying to convey.
Nathaniel's works are even constructed with many historical practices. to start, he prepares his surfaces with a personally made marble plaster "gesso". It is applied to the wood panels or on linen jute wrapped panel by using a trowel. He paints in oil (sometimes enamel) and the use of shellac India ink with a dipped pen with calligraphy to reference the woodblock prints. The final painting is then varnished with two coats ofdamarvarnish and three coats of hand polished bleached wax to finish the surface. Nathaniel's desire in the final paintings is to feel as if they are historical fragments and have a storied place through time.
As far as why he paints the subject matter of nature... it is very simple. He is trying to explain with paint what we, as a civilization, are doing to ourselves and to our planet. How we are directlychanging our connection to mother nature/spirit simply for “vanity”. With all of his artwork, Nathaniel is pointing to the need for greater connective, spiritual/nature intuitiveness, showing that we need to change our great loss to connect to our spiritual self. Considering the Romantic notion of how nature/spiritual life, approached as an art of the emotions, can enhance our inner psychological health and our outer harmony in modern culture. As we continue to shape popular ideas on many issues up to the present day with how we approach personal awareness, we simply need to be aware of our reality but with a hope to find beauty and inner peace.On a very broad level, the teachings of Buddha and the philosophies of the Romantic movement were born into a period of great social ferment: political, cultural, and religious/spiritual upheaval; all of which exists today, but we can now add environmental exhaustion. Like many creatives in the past, Nathaniel is dissatisfied with the simplified cultural traditions, pro quo, in which he was raised. he is in search of a new way to understand and to comfort his spiritual dissatisfaction. nathaniel is looking inward and trying to emphasize his inspiration, subjectivity and the primacy of the individual self within the world’s chaotic reality.
“There is a place and time for escaping reality and a time to be brave and see what is real.” N
2001: mfa, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. Full Scholarship and Fellowship 1998: bfa, Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio. Top Scholarship / 1993: Marie Walsh Summer Art Program recipient.
2019: “guild summer solan” silvermine art center, new canaan, ct (july 6-august 21) “five and under” arcadia gallery, pasadena, ca (august) / “We Believe” red gallery, BRIDGEHAMPTON, NY / “silver mine Art Center, New Guild Artist Show”, new canaan, CT 2018: “outside the box” Gitana Rosa Gallery, Art Factory Studios, Patterson, NJ / “small works” (not)sheep GALLERY, COLUMBUS, OH / “summer rotation/group show #1” little john Contemporary, new york, NY / “summer rotation/group show #2” / little john Contemporary, new york, NY 2017: “summer group show” little john Contemporary, New york, NY / “group show” Muse Gallery, Columbus, OH / “group show” Gitana Rosa Gallery, new york, NY / “group show” Muse Gallery, Columbus, OH 2016: “group show” hall-barnet Gallery, New Orleans, LA 2015: “group show” Hilton Hotel Downtown, Muse Gallery, Columbus, OH / “4 artists’ group show” Muse Gallery, Columbus, OH / “flowers and clay” Curly Tale Fine Art, Chicago, IL 2014: “diver up” Stray Cat Gallery, New York, NY / “artHamptons” Gitana Rosa Gallery (New York City), Bridgehampton, NY / “krampus show” Curly Tale Fine Art, Chicago, IL / “juicy” Gitana Rosa Chelsea, nye, NY / “three in nature” Kai Lin Gallery, Atlanta GA / “flower vine” Gallery Minerva, asheville, NC / “nature” Gallery Minerva, asheville, NC 2013: “inaugural show” photo gallery, Hoboken NJ / "show" 423West Gallery, Los Angeles, CA / “2 person”, Curly Tale Fine Art, Chicago, IL 2012: “Affinity”, Kai Lin Art, Atlanta, GA / “Five in One” wriggle House, Knoxville, Tn (Curated by Hali Maltsberger) "The Others" Gitana Rosa Gallery, Brooklyn, NY / “PoP” Kai Lin Art, Atlanta, GA / “Dog Days”, Gitana Rosa Gallery, Brooklyn, NY / “Art at The Airport” Knoxville, TN / “Illustrative” Kai Lin Art, Atlanta, GA / “BLOOM” Kai Lin Art, Atlanta, GA / “Metamorphosis: Recycle to Art” Oak Ridge Art Center, Oak Ridge, TN / “Terra” Kai Lin Art, Atlanta, GA / “National Juried Show” The Emporium Building (The Cultural and Arts Alliance), Knoxville, TN (award Best in Show) 2011: “SIDESHOW” Muse gallery, Columbus, OH / “A Show of Teachers” Oak Ridge Art Center, Oak Ridge, TN / “GLOW” Kai Lin Gallery, Atlanta, GA / “New Artists” Plum Gallery, Knoxville, TN / “Bring on The Bling” Muse Gallery, Columbus, OH / “Art at The Airport” Knoxville, TN / “OPENSHOW” Oak Ridge Art Center, Oak Ridge, TN (award Best in Show) / “reUsed” Gallery @ The Lunch Box, Knoxville, TN 2010: “arts capes” Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN / On going, Redline Gallery, Knoxville, TN 2009: "4" Arts Tonight, 8Shooters Gallery, Knoxville, TN 2008: March, Three Flights Up Gallery, Knoxville, TN 2007: “June Show” Three Flights Up Gallery, Knoxville, TN 2003: “Rope Climb” aron packer projects Gallery, Chicago, IL 2000: “Group” Dittmar Gallery, Evanston, IL 1999: “Red” Dittmar Gallery, Evanston, IL 1994 to 1999: “Annual Show” Outside Juried Competition, Columbus, OH
2019: “lost and I found you…” the gallery at 200 Lex curated by gail garlic of good design, new york, ny (current) / “appeal of the blooms…” New york, ny 2018: “nature’s walk…” Perch for Pergola, Kent, CT / “stories of the forest…” Muse Gallery, Columbus, OH / “flat ikebana photographs…” The Gallery at Lillian August, Norwalk, CT / “the promise of lingering…” The Gallery at Lillian August, Norwalk, CT 2017: “nomadic now…” Gitana Rosa, New York 2016: “wonderland…” Palos Verdes Art Center, Palos Verdes CA 2015: “bounty…” Flatiron Design Collective, New York, NY / “first forest” New York City, NY / “twilight light” Hilton Columbus Downtown Art Space curated by Muse Gallery, Columbus, OH / “nature’s affair” Curly Tale Fine Art, Chicago IL 2014: “twilight falls gently” Kai Lin Gallery, Atlanta, GA / “unbridled muses” Gitana Rosa Chelsea, new york, NY 2013: "cloud bouncing" Kai Lin Gallery, Atlanta, GA 2012: “TUMBLE TIME…” Gallery Minerva, Asheville, NC / “Planted HERE…” KLA2 Gallery, Atlanta, GA (curated by Yu-Kai Lin, Kai Lin Gallery, Atlanta GA) / “Flower to Honey” KLA2 Gallery, Atlanta, GA (curated by Yu-Kai Lin, Kai Lin Gallery, Atlanta Ga) / “Flora Domicile…” aron packer projects, Chicago, IL / “The Birds and the Bees…” Muse Gallery, Columbus, OH / “The Wave Hits Happy…” Oak Ridge Art Center, Oak Ridge, TN / "a garden for Patrick..." TVUUC Gallery, Knoxville, TN 2011: “Flowers-n-Friends” The Small Hall Gallery @ Magpies, Knoxville, TN / “Poppy Talk…” Gallery @ The Lunch Box, Knoxville, TN / “The altamonte Gallery Presents... Nathaniel Galka, The altamonte Theatre”, Asheville, NC (curated by Anna Parker Barnett Consulting, Gallery Minerva) / “Fun With Garden Scissors…” Red Line Gallery, Knoxville, TN / “Blue Room…” Symphony League Showcase House, Knoxville, TN 2010: “The birdies are here…” Bella Vista Art Gallery, Asheville, NC / “Long Skies... Flat Land” Gallery at Nouveau Classics, Knoxville, TN / “land…” Gallery at Nouveau Classics, Nashville, TN 2009: “Wild Times…” Bella Vista Art Gallery, Asheville, NC / “Bird…” World Grotto Gallery, Knoxville TN 2001: “Undercover…” Dittmar Gallery, Evanston, IL 1999: “Nogasha (Nudes)” Waldo’s On High Gallery, Columbus, OH 1998: My Work to Date, Canzoni Gallery, Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH
Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, OH / Hilton Hotel Downtown, Columbus, OH / The Pentagon Building, Washington D.C. / Hope Center, Nashville, TN / Tennessee State Capital Building, Nashville, TN / Pilot Oil, Knoxville, TN / Oak Ridge Art Center, Oak Ridge, TN - Contemporary Collection / uncap, Nashville, NC / horizons Organization, Chicago, IL / DeAngelis Ltd, Glen Head, NY
Northwestern University, Evanston IL - Drawing, Photography 1 & 2, Conceptual and Theoretical Practice (TA) / Oak Ridge Art Center, Oak Ridge TN - Watercolor, Still Life Drawing, Mixed Medium, Painting-Beginner through Advanced, Figure Drawing-Beginner through Advanced, Landscape Painting / rustics Garden Club, Bedford NY - Digital and Smart Phone Photography / Bedford Garden Club, Bedford NY-- Digital and Smart Phone photography New York Botanical Society, nye / Silvermine Art Center, Silvermine (New Canaan), CT - Master Class Workshop/Invited Artist and painting
Silvermine Art Center Guild member and faculty / Katonah Art Museum Artist member