GERALD SALADYGA ARTIST STATEMENT
Representing landscape is a very important part of my work. But I see landscape painting not as a romantic representation of the past, but as an ongoing inspiration of an ever changing environment challenged by urban sprawl, pollution, industrialization, victimization and conflict. Sounds problematic and perhaps unpaintable, but many past artists have visualized, if not predicted, the environmental concerns which most of the population have now got to deal with, Richard Smithson, Gordon Matta-Clark, Emmet Gowin, David Maisel, and Edward Burtynsky to name a few.
My approach is different, not as head-on as these artists. I prefer fantasy that underlies the reality bringing the viewer in with color, form and texture and then let him go with a sense of unease that there is something wrong and its just below the surface in both painting and drawing.
A trip to Poland reinforced a suspicion I had already sensed that below every surface there was another story waiting to be uncovered or more likely admitted to. For example, in Warsaw, before that Stalinist development, there was the Jewish Ghetto, before the old part of the city was re-constructed, there was an uprising, where there are forests, there were massacres and where fields coveted with wild flowers, there are not-so- silent graves. After every battle, be it political, military, environmental or psychological, has ended, there is a new beginning and often a cover-up. And what is beneath that surface can ooze up and make
the present as ferocious as the past. Every country and every people have a story to tell and every piece of real estate has a secret.
What interests me most about landscape is what’s beneath it, what’s left of it and most importantly how it affects the present and future.