Home December 2011 Working with Light

Working with Light

“I am what I always wanted to be, an artist,” said Arie A. Galles, artist and professor of art at Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo.  “I have enjoyed a lifetime of doing exactly what I love to do.  I am the product of my parents, Moshe and Malka.  They raised me through the end and aftermath of World War II; from Uzbekistan through Poland, Israel and the US.”
Galles, whose exhibit “HEARTLAND II: Reflected-Light Paintings” will be at Soka through January 6, works with light – with the glowing radiation of fluorescent color, painted on a vertical armature of aluminum extrusions, reflected onto a white surface.  The images are nonphysical, existing in the gaps between the extrusions.  The images created in, and of, the shadows, are an “Anti-Shadow.”  The viewer is constantly involved in the contradiction between paint and light, the paradox between the physical and perceptual sensations of seeing.  Galles’ images challenge the viewer’s perceptions by simultaneously dividing the colors while heightening the color saturation of reflected light.  In the widely exhibited “Heartland” series of aerial landscapes he found the ideal synthesis of subject and technique.  These landscapes are pure light, and in essence, pure illusion.
In 1993, Galles stopped working on the “Heartland” series.  He said that his work lost color.  For the next nine years he worked on his monumental suite of charcoal drawings, “Fourteen Stations/Hey Yud Dalet.”  The works are a Kaddish for those who perished during the Holocaust and have been exhibited at galleries and museums throughout the country.
At Soka University, in an outburst of color, Galles has returned to the “Heartland” series of Reflected-Light paintings.  In order to come in direct hand contact with the painting surface, he abandoned the airbrush for long-bristled sable brushes.  With these new possibilities and inherent limitations, Galles continues his visual exploration of color and light.
The exhibition also includes a number of Galles’ drawings and paintings.  The iconography of the Reflected-Light paintings develops through a progression of color drawings in pencil, oil pastels and paint, works of art in their own right.  These culminate in full-scale templates for the final works on aluminum extrusions.  The intensely hued two-dimensional drawings don’t actually evolve into Galles’ finished pieces; rather, they metamorphose into unique three-dimensional instruments resonating with luminosity.  In his Reflected-Light paintings, rather than using light to expose hidden flaws, Galles uses light to bring beautifully radiating images into existence.
Galles also served as director of the creative arts program at Soka from 2004 through 2010 after coming from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey.  He has been an art educator since 1968.  Soka University is a private, four-year liberal arts college and graduate school located on 103 acres overlooking a wilderness park in Aliso Viejo.
Galles has a free lecture scheduled for December 4: “36 Years of Looking Forward: Technical and Aesthetic Evolution of a Unique New Art Form 1975-2011” from 5 to 6 in Founders Hall Gallery at Soka.
For more information, contact Soka University of America, 1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo; (949) 480-4000; info@soka.edu.


  1. When is next clss open to public?

    Thanks for interesting article in OCJL magazine. Another artist, Sherry Marger told me about you work.


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