A native of the eastern states, Stephen Galloway has spent his adult life in California. Following his education at San Francisco State University (BA 1991, MFA 1994), he has pursued an artistic path inspired by the natural landscapes of his adopted state. He has created and exhibited photographs, installations, videos, performances and public art works as part of his continuous exploration of what nature and landscape mean to us.
After several years living in both Northern and Southern California, Galloway began photographing this place as a way to make sense of what he was seeing and experiencing. The photograph provides a sense of the real, the actual, which is essential to his work. Feeling, though, that straight photography was too limited to explore many of the ideas that were emerging for him, he began searching out more conceptual approaches to the landscape. In the late nineteen eighties Galloway started layering in text, serial images, performance, video and installation with his photographs in order to expand the kinds of ideas the images could address and express.
Since the early 2000’s, Galloway has been developing the large-scale photography and public works he is known for. He is focused on exploring the relationship between nature in its physical state and the nature we know after we’ve perceived it, after we’ve named it. The camera allows his work to carry forward the presence of actual nature; his compositions allow him to talk about how we create meaning of that nature.
“I work with natural elements to create the feeling and illusion of a different nature. I’m removing or changing the context we experience nature in. Altering the rules of engagement with nature, if you will, is how we clearly get to enter the picture.
This is art built with nature. But is it nature anymore? Does nature move out of its own time the moment it is touched? Does it break the illusion of being in time? Does being touched, or named, or imagined, end nature?”