Neal Falanga


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Neal Falanga
About the author

Introduction The focus of my work has remained the same since I began; to create pieces that take on a life of their own. Each work is individual; even when I create apendant, or a series, each unit carries its own message and tells it in a specific and intimate language – a “discussion”, if you will, between me and the work. I don’t want to create work that people will merely look at; I want to create work that will force viewers to suspend their disbelief. I want to create work that captures so fully the love, the hate, the beauty and the despair that humanity feels and experiences, that my works become an extension of the viewer’s own reality. The attempt to understand humanity is the dominant theme in my work. There are basic instincts and feelings that drive mankind. In acting on these basic emotions, we often find our human selves in untenable situations. It is through painting that I study our actions, and reactions, and seek truth. I contemplate thought and emotion, in order to depict the moment of conception, the height of realization, the pivotal point where love, hate, good, evil, beauty and horror are not fully actualized but at the same time are omnipresent. I try to stop time that we might realize that in beauty there is also horror and evil, and that in evil there is also beauty and hope. My work depicts the moment where all things coalesce, in such a way that the viewer, in viewing, becomes part of the painting. “Early” Collection: allegorical works on the Historical scale I am often asked, by viewers of only my early works, if I am a surrealist. Although at first this seemed like a bizarre accusation; upon reflection I realized that this misperception is a great commentary on how fully successful I have been in communicating my intent. The focus of my early work was on the unaddressed issues faced by the “invisible” people to which America turns a blind eye. Executed on the grand scale generally reserved for works of Historia, my pieces represent allegorical images of the suffering. The Diabetics depicts the victims of the failure of the health care industry; The Itch depicts the failure of society to recognize the suffering of our youngest veterans; The Fall depicts the failure of society to recognize the victims of domestic abuse, and Helplessness (Death Takes Him) depicts the crisis of despair. While I was focusing on calling attention to the plight of the unrecognized failures of society; I began to realize the, perhaps more integral idea, of recovery from despair. This idea was explored in a four-part series that recognizes the journey of the spirit separate from the body. Beginning with Helplessness, and flowing through the subsequent works Guardian and Ascent, the “journey” culminates with Revelation. “Muse” Collection: intimate works on a smaller scale During my final year in undergrad, I began working from, and with, a muse. The inspired changes in many aspects of my work were most glibly noted by a professor with whom I had studied over a number of years. He said, “If I were to take two of your paintings and hang them on opposite walls, I would never guess that one artist painted both [works].” Throughout my body of work there is a perennial revisitation to the same model, as seen in the works Asleep, Calculus Dreams, and Sunshine. The gentler handling of serene themes was a deviation from my more theatrical allegorical pieces; and led to an exploration of balance and stillness. In endeavouring to capture the mystique of the muse, I also began to create other small intimate works, such as the pendant pieces Contemplation and Portrait of a Man. “Colour” Collection: geometric works employing colour theory As a student I had enjoyed the challenges of colour theory, and the interplay between the eye’s perception of juxtaposed, not intermixed, colours. In 2006 I craved again the refreshment of unmixed colour and the contemplative aspects of overlaid geometries. The premise that chroma, not just hue, is a factor of visual perception is explored in the pendant pieces Chromatic Abstraction and Colour Proof with Flaw. Presently I have been said to be an embodiment of dichotomy; and as painting is generally an additive art form, it is only natural that I also perform the subtractive works of a sculptor. In 2007, I realized an excellent source of marble, available in manageable sizes; and I have since been enjoying sharpening and dulling my chisels as I free the human forms within. Likewise, I appropriate all manner of utensils and equipment from around the house into the studio while I build small ecorches and experiment with allegorical poses. I have also been successfully trying my hand at masonry, although this has yet to parlay into my expressive, figural art. Finished pieces are forthcoming.