Boys of Summer - James Wolanin + Danny Galieote
Figurative painters James Wolanin and Danny Galieote create work that capture an enduring vision and aesthetic of modern America. Both artists have produced vast bodies of work, yet one particular theme stands out as significant to both Wolanin and Galieote: the classic odes to summer. With different backgrounds and styles, it is interesting to see how Wolanin and Galieote approach the narrative around the subject, gravitating and exploring the nuances around particular imagery, colors, and periods. In composition and approach the work could not be any more different, yet each contains a particular distillment of the look and feel of the summer season, a subject to which each artist feels drawn to and explores in depth via their own artistic process.
New Jersey based artist, James Wolanin, often utilizes the planes and shapes of the human form in an exploration of composition by creating cropped views to emphasize the abstract qualities of the posed figure. Though his subject matter ranges in setting, the work is identifiable through his particular use of flat shapes, vintage color palette, “snapshot” type framing and the anonymity of the figures presented. The setting could be anyplace, anytime, yet Wolanin selects particular details - a certain shade of lipstick, cut of a swimsuit, model of a car or shape of cateye sunglasses - to imbue the work with the golden cast of vintage glamour. In works that reference the hazy days of summer, Wolanin pays particular attention to the ways in which the light casts its shadows on the body, as well as on the water, signifying the heat and luminosity of high noon where the sun is at its hottest, and the light is at its brightest. The obscured, impartial view of the scene emphasizes the anonymity of the characters, while the minimalist, stylized composition transforms each element of the composition into individual parts of an altogether abstracted whole.
A California native, Danny Galieote’s works draw inspiration from the glamour of the vintage as well. However, in Galieote’s work, the narrative takes precedence in carefully constructed narratives that present fully realized storylines. Compositionally masterful with a keen sense of art historical lexicon, the works capture the quintessentials of Americana. In the tradition of the great American realist painters, Homer, Hopper, and Wyeth, Galieote creates calculated renderings that show an intense observation in the nuances of everyday life. Much like Wolanin’s interest in the distillations of the signposts of the “modern”, Galieote’s works reflect the artist’s personal take of the vision of modern American life. Quotidian scenes blend banality with the heroic, as Galieote constructs a version of the American Dream in the brisk splendor of summer.
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