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