California-based artist Danny Galieote combines a number of artistic influences to create dynamic narrative scenes that are both nostalgic and what he calls pop contemporary. They show the deft hand of a painter with years of experience under his belt, as well as imagination of an artist who has uniquely defined vision. From November 12 to December 3, new paintings and sketches by Galieote will be on view at Maxwell Alexander Gallery.
“The theme is American myth, basically,” says Galieote of the work for the Culver City, California, exhibition. “I’m taking concepts of nostalgia and making them a pop-contemporary theme using my inspiration from regionalists – Benton, Grant Wood, Curry- and mixing that with the Renaissance influences. I’m painting those styles and working them with American myths and pop cultural stuff from the 1940s and 1950s.”
Galieote says he feels this new body of work is among his best to date because he is expanding upon previous concepts. These pieces display full figures rather than the tightly cropped figures he painted prior, and he also makes his first foray into Western art. “…I’ve always been wanting to do Western pieces,” Galieote explains. “I grew up with horses, actually. We had a small farm when I was a kid, and I grew up feeding horses and chickens, going to horse shows…Western things.”
The show will display at least five Western-themed works, including Trick Shot Lucy, a painting of a woman holding a smoking gun with a desert skyline as her backdrop. The piece- along with much of the artist’s other work-was inspired by the pinup art of artists like Gil Elvgren; illustrators such as Norman Rockwell and J.C. Leyendecker: and regionalist Thomas Hart Benton.
“Benton is one of my art heroes, and I like the work he did going through America and painting the everyday person and making them heroic,” Galieote says. “I have the idea of this heroic figure and just the flair and the dash of this trick-shot girl.”
Galieote also points out his love for 1950s TV programs, such as The Andy Griffith Show and The Lone Ranger, and how Trick Shot Lucy, in particular, captures the flair and fun those shows had. “It’s a female version of that, and I’m making it original and contemporary,” he adds.
Another Western work is American Lioness, which shows a woman in a shirt reminiscent of the stars on the American flag, holding a lasso over her shoulder. “The way I thought of her was this American symbol of strength and on the open range and making the life for herself, paving her own path, “ the artist describes.
Paying homage to two of his influences, Galieote painted Rosie’s Lunch Break. “It’s the same pose Michelangelo did of Isaiah on the Sistine Chapel and Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter,” he says. The work also draws on stories he heard growing up from his grandfather, who was in the Navy in Pearl Harbor during World War II. “It’s reminiscent of the beach and my whole life inspirations.”
To view more work by Galieote click HERE