Luke Gumaelius, Ph.D.

Central Coast, California

Instagram @gumaeliusart

Artist Statement

As has always been the case in my creative life, the current direction in my art is very much a response to the world around me, particularly as it relates to imbalances in power that result from corruption, greed, and manipulation. The current work reflects my grievances as well as the moments in which the beauty of our world restores my peace, inspiration, and appreciation.

The Social Critique series is the outlet for my frustration and rage during the last few years of political corruption and absurdity and the proliferation of conspiracy theories that threaten basic knowledge and hundreds of years of discovery. These pieces also represent my sense of hope and solidarity for the efforts to fight the challenges to a life of freedom and equality that I believe is due to every human. Pieces in this collection deal with a wide range of current issues and make clear my position in the argument.

The Beach Trash Collage series offers no escape from the power of the Pacific as it bangs against the coast and its tide rolling in and out. Beach wrack arrives in this process depositing entangled tendrils upon the shore. Each tidal incursion leaves an anthropic imprint – a vestige of our single use addiction – the devil’s bargain of our consumption. Labels and propaganda on plastic fragments speak to our avarice of convenience. Morro Rock, in sight of my home on the Central Coast, is my muse for this series as she resides, ancient, alongside three stacks from a decommission power plant. This industrial waste – a mere fifty years old compared to the 23-million-year-old queen, is incongruously duplicated each day as plastic washes up onto the ancient beaches of the Montana de Oro. The pieces in this collection express the battle between the natural and profane in collages that depict Morro Rock and her concrete consorts. Other pieces abstract the relationship between real and contrived.

The Abstract series emerged as an expression of fundamental, often unconscious, emotion. These pieces have served as my form of free-writing, meditation, and the processing of complex and powerful emotions. The outcomes were surprises, unplanned. The shapes and colors chose themselves, taking over the power of my hands to reveal what I needed to tell myself.