Nathaniel Galka’s work is first and for most based off of art history and the cultural aesthetics of many different centuries. He works with multitudes of references of art that have stimulated and inspired him, along with many others through a millennium of time. He has recently been referencing his art by gathering knowledge of Asian arts from the 12th and 13th century, primarily woodblock prints from Korea and China along with another period is with the historical Japanese Sumi painting of the 17th century. As far as western European influence, undoubtably it is the “vanitas” or still life painters of the Netherlands along with Chinoiserie decorative arts of the 18th century French aristocracy court. As far as current history, he speak to abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock and Rothko. With an accumulation of styles to honor history in his, one will find it is where he has found a universal language. He shows through his paintings 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 marble plaster “gesso”. It is applied to his panel or on linen jute on panel by using a trowel. He paints in oil and sometimes spray enamel with the use of shellac india ink with a dipped pen like calligraphy. The final painting is then varnished with two coats of damar varnish and three coats of hand polished wax to finish the surface. Nathaniel’s desire in the final paintings is to feel as if they are a historical fragment and have a storied place through time.
As far as why he paints his subject matter of nature… that is very simple, he is trying to explain in paint that we as a world society, need to understand what we are doing to ourselves. We are directly changing billions of years of evolution in a matter of moments simply for beauty of other places. Nathaniel is pointing out that we are not planting what is indigenous to our own habitats, simply for ones own pleasure with zero consequences. Everything in nature has balanced itself naturally until we intervened with self vanity. He is showing the universal need to learn the importance of planting/replanting for the embetterment and conservation of this Earth starting in our “own backyard”. With out conservational practices of reclaiming indigenous plants, we will be shifting the paradigm and balance that this planet has created on its own without the need of us.
Nathaniel’s works have been placed in museums, corporate and private collections around the world. He currently lives and paints in Westchester Co. New York.