paintings by GALEN GARWOOD
“Galen Garwood’s art returns like a pilgrim to sacred worlds, to primal places and dreams. In his paintings, light is the light of first mornings, the sun the radiance of all origins, darkness, the coming of night, not a looming catastrophe but a sea or a landscape where illumination is about to happen. His is a generous, questing, visionary art in search of the nearly unnameable mystery of things, the strangeness of being. He paints elegies in praise of the holy.”
‘Winter Lake,‘ for Morris Graves 1910-2001 oil on canvas, 61″ x 85″ 2019
These paintings of various sizes harken back to the Pneuma Shift Series, an earlier period from the 1980s. In my mind, I’d been entertaining the idea of images expressing light and reflection, and the sacredness of water; perhaps a carry-over from the 2012 publication of photographs, MAENAM, Of Water, Of Light, in collaboration with eight American poets—Peter Weltner, Marvin Bell, Linda Gregg, Sam Hamill, William O’Daly, Jeanne Morel, Emily Warn, and James Broughton. That collaborative energy remains tethered, and it somehow seemed appropriate that these new paintings be dedicated to various poets, as I think of them now, transmuted back into the water source. Some I knew personally and some only through their work.
Last year in May, I’d hoped to attend Sam Hamill’s 75th birthday; instead, I attended his memorial service. Through Sam, I met Linda Gregg, Hayden Carruth, Denise Levertov, and so many more poets. From Sam’s remarkable Chinese translations, I met Li Bo, Du Fu, and others. Through my friend Gene Ramey, I met poet and filmmaker, James Broughton, and from my friend and poet William O’Daly, with his remarkable Neruda translations, I came to Pablo.
In visual poetry, Morris Graves entered my life as did John Franklin Koenig, and Mary Randlett. Even my beautiful grandmother, Lucile, is here. She gave me my first taste of art as a young boy growing up in South Georgia and she keeps me in her trajectory still.
So it goes, this trail of light leading us deeper into the unalterable.