2016-2017 - selected paintings
The Cigalis Paintings
2015 - selected paintings
This was a year of suspended transitions. Of hanging precariously between one life and another. Watching for the next step up, which seemed so close. The next advance. Meanwhile voices from the past bubbled up, ambushing me in terrible moments. I sifted endlessly through family photos in search of something. Maybe I was subconsciously paying some kind of service to the ancestors. Hoping it would somehow move things along.
2014 - selected paintings
Keeper of Souls
Photos of you, of anyone, are a strange profanity. They strip you of something intrinsic, something deeply personal. You're never quite the same. Moreso when the photos are unanticipated, unwanted. Stolen. Taken in unfavorable circumstances. Mugshots. Google Street View shots that seem to turn everyone into ghosts. Photos I've taken of strangers while on vacation. Photos of you as a child, when you have no control over anything. Lost family photos in the hands of complete strangers; these remind me of diaries I found in antique stores in Vermont, personal memories that descendants should have valued, but instead they're cast aside like so many dead leaves in a drawer. I keep them on a shelf, aside from the other books. Quite by accident I have become a keeper of souls.
2013 - selected paintings
The cartoon project begun some years back is exploding herein raucous experiments and conjectures and fluorescent hallucinations. In paintings about personal experiences both general and specific, some relating to memories I hadn't even owned until reclaiming them in an artwork. Memories I tried so hard not to own for so long. Painting them, I'd hoped, would be exorcism. But it really doesn't play out that way. For me the glow of the past is rarely the warm, fireside type. It's more like the radioactivity saturating a creek I played in as a kid.
2012 - selected paintings
Distances to Various Stars
Jumbling imagery in a very direct way; finding a source that interests me, an image, photo, mugshot, an old ad, whatever, painting it immediately, then finding another source completely unrelated and painting it with the first thing. Repeating it over and over. Sometimes a word or phrase or song lyric comes to mind, and they're worked in.
2011 - selected paintings
Falling Into Something
In a number of these works my explorations of older cartoon imagery are salted with internet drawings, a kind of kabuki that seems to illustrate the emotional fumbling of kids. I relate completely to its energized awkwardness. The cringe-worthy mistakes you make just learning to interact with people; for some these things just come and go. For me they hang around for ages.
2010 - selected paintings
Bureau of Cartoon Indoctrination
Most of these paintings combine elements from well-known cartoons of the 1960's and 70's in a tableau evocative of bureaucratic regimentation and documentation, the bland colors of government pamphlets about surviving nuclear attacks, avoiding venereal disease, keeping one's thoughts within the current definition of patriotism. A few works further down step outside this approach and engage the indoctrinated population.
2009 - selected paintings
I realized how much my perceptions were still influenced by some of my earliest visual experiences. How my siblings and I used to watch cartoons for hours and never once laugh. We just stared as drawings poured into our eyes 24 frames per second. I took it upon myself to begin reclaiming and redirecting my visual vocabulary by isolating specific cartoon elements and reworking them. Collaging them, in a sense. Using them to create new meanings. Quite unexpectedly this became deeply personal; I found the emergent meanings would relate to specific memories from childhood. People and incidents I'd forgotten, inadvertently or otherwise, but usually for the better. I found myself surrounded by ghosts. The frequent target of emotional ambush.
Copyright© 2017 Bill Gusky