Marking Place and Time with Timothy Callaghan, at Busta Projects

Timothy Callaghan, July, gouache on paper, 20 X 20 inches, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Busta Projects.

What could be more obvious or more pleasing than paintings of your hometown? Maybe with a comforting recognition of local landmarks? Maybe enhanced with a new flourish? This was the appeal of the Cleveland Calendars published in the 1980s and 1990s by International Printing Company, who commissioned a different artist each year. These annual commissions included Mary Lou Ferbert, Moses Pearl, Florian Lawton, Martin Linsey, and, most notably and expressively, Viktor Schreckengost (1980).

But cities are not so obvious and art is not about pleasing.

Timothy Callaghan, November, gouache on paper, 20 X 20 inches, 2022.

Twelve months in the year; twelve paintings in this exhibition. Timothy Callaghan paints the neighborhoods of Cleveland as encounters in everyday life. His work has a pedestrian point of view—the viewer senses as if being there, seeing as the artist sees. Image is about meaning, not abstracted icon. We started discussing the possibility of this exhibition in early 2021, as I was thinking about how the sensibilities in his painting carry us through the year. The work has been in progress since: the work reflects time and perception through time, piece to piece.

Within the gallery, instead of didactic, I chose to accompany Timothy Callaghan’s paintings with poetic notations. For December:

Where do we feel we belong,
where every place we pass
is a memory of love
or loss? We walk these old streets
as if possessed, even as our
brave footsteps fade in the dusk.

This work of Timothy Callaghan is the last of a set of three exhibitions at William Busta Projects this year. It follows possible and recontextualized cityscapes by Mary Jo Boles, and elegant and enigmatic prints by Laurence Channing. The work of each artist creates a mythic structure out of the fabric of Cleveland. That is something we all do, in a way. The cities we live in are as much personal perception as brick, wood, and steel.

Timothy Callaghan, May, gouache on paper, 20 X 20 inches, 2022.

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Timothy Callaghan: Factotum, November 18 through December 31


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